DEFINITION: Mediation is a process that pursues conflict resolution through a neutral party meeting with the parties to a dispute and assisting the parties in developing a mutually agreeable solution.
ROLE OF THE MEDIATOR: While David is an attorney, a mediator does not provide legal advice and does not issue a decision. Any final determination is made by an agreement of the parties. If desired, except for certain narrow exceptions as provided by Ohio law, all discussions in a mediation may be confidential.
TIME FRAME: While mediations in very complex matters can extend for days, generally mediations can be completed in less than half a day and with a private mediator can often be scheduled within a few weeks. Litigation and sometimes arbitration can languish for years.
FOCUS ON MUTUALLY AGREEABLE SOLUTION, NOT A LEGAL DETERMINATION: Unlike litigation or arbitration, the emphasis in a mediation is working on a solution, not determining who is legally liable. Unlike litigation and arbitration, testimony is not presented. However, each party is asked to present their views. Also, unlike litigation and arbitration, often the parties, rather than legal counsel, are major participants. Mediation does not require parties to engage in extensive and expensive discovery. A successful mediation results in substantial cost savings, and stops the stress and frustration associated with litigation.
MINIMIZE RISK: Often after a decision by a judge or an arbitrator the parties review the decision and wonder how the decision-maker reached his or her decision. Studies have shown that parties rarely get a result from a judge that they find to be satisfactory. There are considerable risks associated with allowing a dispute to be decided by a judge or arbitrator. While the parties may not be entirely happy with the results of a mediation, by reaching an agreement they are eliminating the risks associated with a decision by a court or arbitrator.
FLEXIBILITY: The parties in a mediation are free to make any legal agreement. Thus, while a judge will decide the liability of a party, in a mediation the parties can agree on provisions that they believe should be included in a settlement that a Judge may not address in a decision.