In mediation, the two parties in a dispute agree to meet with a mediator, a professionally trained neutral third party. The meetings are voluntary, and the two parties in the dispute retain control of the process. The mediator offers an unbiased evaluation of the legal situation and suggests methods by which the legal dispute can be resolved.
The mediator facilitates dialogue between the two parties, interviews witnesses or other parties, reviews documentation, advises the parties on laws and regulations, and drafts non-binding agreements. Mediation can be the most productive alternative in resolving a range of disputes, offering the two parties several benefits:
- Faster resolution: A lawsuit typically takes many months or years to reach a verdict. It is often in the best interests of both parties to resolve the matter more quickly.
- More affordable: The cost of mediation is far less than the cost of resolving a lawsuit in court.
- Confidential: The matters reviewed and discussed in mediation are confidential, rather than becoming public.
- Better outcomes and compliance: Mediation does not involve a winner or loser but is a collaborative process to reach a mutually agreed-upon resolution which often leads to higher levels of compliance.
- Preserves relationships: Important relationships, whether personal, family, or business, can be destroyed through years of contentious litigation. Mediation allows the two parties to work collaboratively towards resolution, and hopefully, preserve these relationships.