Mediation: Be Your Own Advocate

To those viewing this page:

Greetings. Let’s talk about mediation and why it can be the best way to find a resolution for your concerns (trouble).

Litigation can be a long road. It is not unusual for cases to take a year or more to come before a judge. Aside from the monetary cost, there is the investment of time and energy (and stomach acid). Instead of devoting strength to career and family, you deal with a haunting dispute. Mediations can take place as soon as the parties are assembled. For most of my cases we have a date of three to four weeks from first contact, sooner is possible. Often disputes can be resolved in three to four hours. And then it’s over – for good.

Courts are run according to well-established rules and regulations. Anger and harsh words are not permitted. But often parties feel the need to be heard (get it off the chest) before working toward a resolution.

What can you expect if you opt for mediation? A prime advantage of mediation is that a skilled, experienced mediator is not troubled by emotion. Crying, loud voices, occasional profanity, pounding the table – an experienced mediator has seen it all. Venting is an expected part of mediation (not allowed in the formality of the courtroom).

A mediator makes no decisions, offers no opinions, does not need to be an expert in the field being discussed. The problem and the solution belong to the parties. The mediator is the leader of the process. It is necessary only to share a common language at the table. (In a homeowner’s complaint, the mediator does not need to know whether wood floors are secured with spike nails or brads, only the words “floor” and “squeak.”) Mediation provides a forum for the parties to reach a decision. (The floor squeaks! What is the fix?) The resolution must be mutually acceptable.

A divorce mediator need not ever marry or divorce. A financial mediator need not ever default on credit cards or declare bankruptcy or fail to pay off a mortgage. A mediator needs to know how to listen, how to help move forward the processes of issue and interest identification – and the search for a resolution.

If you decide for mediation you will have power over your dispute — power shared with the other side to resolve the dispute. You, in discussions with the other side, develop the resolution. The mediator facilitates that development, that resolve.

If you take your dispute all the way through discovery, depositions, court dates scheduled and continued, you will burn up time and energy you could better invest in the priorities in your life. (And don’t forget the stomach acid.) In the end, you have no power. The court will settle your dispute.

Let’s talk. No charge.

Ed Krauss

Post Script: Litigation is about the past – who was right, who was wrong. Mediation is about the future – where do you go from here? What is an outcome that works as well as possible for both parties?