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By: Roberto Vazquez

What You Should Expect From Mediation

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1.      Mediation is intended to be a non-adversarial process to resolve issues without further Court involvement.

Mediation is not intended to mimic the often adversarial process you see in court. In all actuality, often enough the purpose of mediation is simply to get the parties to communicate in the hopes of coming up with some mutually agreeable settlement. Although it is likely that each side with present what they believe are the strengths of their case and possible weaknesses in the other side’s position, mediation is not the place to argue who is actually right or wrong, if anyone at all.

2.      Mediation is much more informal than actual court proceedings.

Mediation is typically conducted without much of the formality you see in court. We find this often helps facilitate communication amongst the parties, which ultimately can end in settlement. Although the process is more informal than court, this does not mean that most rules of politeness and courtesy do not apply. Many times your mediator may specify some of their own specific rules to how the mediation will be conducted.

3.      Be aware and be informed.

If you and the other party are able to come to an agreement during mediation, the parties will enter into a settlement agreement. However, it is important to realize that once this agreement is entered into it can be extremely difficult to undue. Therefore, if you are not completely comfortable with the agreement reached, or do not understand its terms completely, do not sign it. One of the best way to avoid a sticky situation in the long run is be aware of what you are signing and make sure you understand the terms of any potential settlement agreement.

4.      Go into mediation with an open mind.

Often time’s clients expect their attorney’s to argue each any every point of the case at mediation; however, this is not the time or the place. In all actuality, parties tend to be more successful at mediation when they stay calm, collected, and let the other party express their opinions. Come into mediation with an open mind, and under the expectation and hope that you want to reach an agreement that day.

5.      Mediation is one of the few opportunities you will have in the legal system where you and the other party have control over the outcome.

Take advantage of the opportunity that mediation gives you to have control of the outcome. Mediation is one of the few opportunities you will have in the legal system where you and the other party have complete control over the outcome of the case at that point. Usually, if you are not able to come to an agreement the case will proceed through the legal process and will ultimately end up before a judge or jury; at this point they will be the ultimate decision maker not you.