7 Signs You May Need a Mediation
Oftentimes, cases come to us that present genuine legal issues, but are better candidates for mediation rather than litigation. Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral party – the mediator – tries to facilitate a compromise or settlement between the arguing parties. The mediator does not make a decision on who wins and who loses, but rather, only acts as a facilitator trying to bring the parties to an agreement.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you not want to pay, or cannot pay, substantial legal fees?
If you are facing potential litigation, you may be asked to post an initial retainer of somewhere between $5,000 and $50,000, depending on the size and complexity of your case. That is just the initial payment. Once those funds have been exhausted, and each time thereafter when they are, you will need to make an additional deposit. Most mediations, in contrast, can be concluded within just one day, and at a cost of somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 total, depending again on the complexity of your case and the personalities involved. That amount is typically split 50/50 between the parties, which, without a doubt, makes mediation a huge cost-saving option.
- Are one or more parties involved in your dispute being unreasonable?
When one or more parties to a dispute are being unreasonable, the costs of litigation become even greater. Mediators are adept at managing difficult personalities, and helping people get past the emotions and ego that can often stand in the way of a good, mutually acceptable, timely resolution. As a person who is directly involved in the dispute, it is unlikely that the “unreasonable” person will listen to you. In their eyes, you are part of the problem. When the message is delivered by a third party, however, such as a mediator, we find that the same difficult person is often receptive to what we have to say. it’s the same message, just delivered by a different messenger.
- Are one or more of the parties to the dispute impossible to pin down?
This is what we call the proverbial “moving target” – the party who continuously moves the goalpost or just cannot seem to make a final decision. Either or both traits makes a final agreement impossible to reach. If you entrust your mediation to us, we know how to handle that dynamic. When an agreement is reached during a mediation session, whether it accounts for all of the issues involved or only some, that agreement will be put in writing before anyone leaves the room, having had everyone sign off on what has been agreed upon so far. This avoids the frustrating and expensive experience of having to go back and constantly renegotiate points that have already been settled.
- Are you concerned about publicity or your personal information being made public for all to see?
Lawsuits are public proceedings, with a substantial amount of information available to the public online. Unless there is a good reason why a case or courtroom should be sealed, virtually anyone can attend hearings in your case, read the related court orders, and follow any and all activity that is occurring in your case. This can be very intrusive no matter what kind of case you have, but is especially troubling where information of a highly-personal nature, financial matters, or sensitive family issues are involved. Mediation is a confidential process. The parties agree ahead of time – in writing – that information shared or disclosed in the process will not be disseminated to anyone outside of the participants in the process. The mediator also cannot be called as a witness in any litigation between the parties involved.
- Would you like to salvage the personal or business relationship at issue, or at least not entirely have it implode?
Litigation often burns bridges. No matter how well-intentioned one or more of the parties to a dispute may be (“I just want to get my fair share”), litigation often turns hostile and becomes an “I want to win at all costs” game. If you are going through a divorce – particularly a divorce that involves children – it is going to serve you and your children well, and reduce everyone’s stress for years to come, if you can emerge from the process with the ability to co-parent cooperatively and respectfully with your former spouse. Even business relationships that hit the rocks can be salvaged if the parties can stay focused on reaching a compromise and solution instead of “destroying” each other in litigation. We have seen the most heated business disputes between competitors result in profitable joint ventures and development projects that neither party could have achieved without the other. There is always more than one way to “skin the cat”.
- Do you want to have control over the outcome of your dispute?
Mediation is the only legal process that enables you to have control over the outcome of your dispute. When you submit your case to a judge or jury for decision, you surrender control over the resolution to people who can never know or grasp the complexities of the case as well as you do. The court process is simply not equipped for that. In mediation, you are given a full opportunity to explain everything to the mediator that you want or think he or she needs to know, and are free to determine for yourself what outcome you are and are not willing to accept.
- Do you want your dispute resolved sooner rather than later?
In the COVID world we live in today (and for the foreseeable future), courts are either not scheduling trials or they are being significantly postponed. Trials needing juries are not being scheduled, and likely will not be unless and until there is universal agreement that it is safe to do so. What does this mean for you? It indicates that if you want or need your dispute resolved as quickly as possible, mediation is absolutely the best route to take. Whereas it might take as long as 18-24 months at this point to conclude a lawsuit in court, a mediation can typically be scheduled within 30-45 days.
Mediation is not for every case. There may be reasons why you want or need to litigate your case in court, and if so, that is understandable. However, if you answered at least three of the above questions with a “yes”, then you owe it to yourself to at least find out more about Weinberger Law’s mediation services, and how we can help you resolve your case.
About Weinberger Law
Weinberger Law is the firm you want when you need powerful warriors on your side. We are strong, business-focused attorneys that get results through innovative solutions, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to our clients’ concerns.
Our superior quality work, based on decades of successful experience, gives you large firm caliber representation with the responsiveness, agility, personalization, and fee structure of a smaller boutique law firm.