Mediation involves the intervention of a neutral third person — a mediator — into a dispute to help the conflicting parties negotiate fairly. The mediator meets with the parties at a neutral location where the parties can discuss the dispute and explore a variety of solutions. A mediator does not decide who is right or wrong, but instead helps parties in conflict find a solution that make sense to everyone involved.
No. The parties must decide to settle their dispute and a mediator may not coerce the parties to reach a settlement.
In a trial, a judge, jury, or arbitrator will decide the outcome. With mediation, the parties take control of the dispute. Mediated settlements, crafted by the parties in collaboration with their legal representatives, often offer a broader range of settlement options and outcomes than exist in a formal court setting. Mediated settlements, however, are legally binding and just as enforceable.
Any necessary decision-maker should attend. Should there be any questions regarding who should attend, counsel should arrange for a conference call with the mediator before the session.
No. It is not necessary that you have a lawyer present at mediation, however, since the mediator needs to remain neutral, the mediator cannot and will not give you legal advice. Resolution of a dispute often involves making important legal decisions, and you may choose to have a lawyer present to advise you on these issues or to review any mediated settlement agreement.
The length of a mediation will depend on many factors. Mediation may range from a half hour to a day or several days. It depends on the complexity of the case and the number of parties in the dispute.