QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT MEDIATION:

Q. As you see it, what is the purpose of mediation?
A. The purpose of mediation is bringing people together with an unbiased third party in order to settle a dispute. In many cases, one side or the other just wants to vent their grievances. There are people who have been so angry they were actually compelled in the past to go to trial just so they could tell their side of the story. In a mediation setting, you have a third party with some vested power to whom both sides can tell their story. The mediator has no interest in the outcome. The mediator’s interest is in creating the results, so he or she must remain completely neutral throughout the proceedings.

Q. What is the direct benefit to the people who would hire you?
A. The cost of litigating to completion, even the simplest cases is now thousands of dollars, in some cases tens of thousands of dollars, much of which is spent in the final preparation for, and handling of a trail. There are many variables that can take place in the course of a trail that can be avoided through mediation . The cost of experts is enormous; the cost of medical testimony is enormous; the cost of taking depositions from a number of witnesses is enormous. In a mediation setting, competent lawyers can generally review the reports of economists, physicians, or other experts in place or trial-demanded, expensive testimony. Not only is this cost efficient, it eliminates risk and brings certainty in the evaluation of the case. In a mediation setting, lawyers can generally take the reports of economists or physicians and pretty well understand how the expert will testify at trial. This saves the costs and it also saves the risk because rarely can you predict with 100% certainty what’s going to happen. There are many variables that can take place in the course of a trial that can be avoided.

Q. How do you get the parties together in order to reach an agreement?
A. You have to find out not what the parties want, but what they need and you have to work on developing a relationship in one form or another where each party’s needs are met. Everybody universally wants to feel respected and everybody wants to feel vindicated, so those are non-financial needs that always have to be addressed in addition to any financial outcomes.

Q. What’s the secret to dealing with people in conflict when emotions are running high?
A. Most parties to a mediation are very emotional. A mediator has to move back and forth between or among the parties, if there are more than two, to try to convince everyone that it’s not in their best interest to continue hostile feelings.— it just doesn’t do anybody any good -- and that in a trial of a case, somebody’s going to lose. In a mediation, if people can set aside their hostility and identify what they really need, they can have a better outcome. You can actually create mediation scenarios that are literally “win-win”.

Q, What promise can you give to those who retain your services in these areas?
A. I can promise people who retain our services that they will be handled respectfully; that their contentions would be taken seriously; that there will be fairness in the proceedings; and that the process will be handled in a way that seeks to create victory for everybody and to avoid the pitfalls, problems and the high price tags of litigation.

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