Mediation is a form
of assisted negotiation that the parties involved in virtually any dispute can
agree to pursue as an alternative to litigation in the courts. The assist comes
from the neutral mediator, who participates impartially, advising and consulting
the parties involved. The mediator cannot impose a settlement, but can help to
keep the parties focused more on the issues and less on the personalities of the
- For starters, the
average civil lawsuit in the US today takes 5 to 7 years, from initial
filing to settlement
- In 1985, 2/3 of the
$35 Billion spent on litigation went toward legal fees. (Rand Corporation
- Participants report
greater satisfaction with the process of justice
- Participants retain
control over settlement issues
How to choose a mediator
Ask questions of
- Are they experienced
in your industry, with your type of problem?
- Do they belong to
professional associations with a standard of ethic? (American Arbitration
Association, Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, etc.)
- How much will they
charge you for services? Make sure you understand your agreement.
- What is their
Remember: All parties to a dispute must first agree to mediate
- Discuss and include
mediation clauses in your contract documents before they are signed.
- Contact professional
associations for assistance.