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What Is Mediation?

Wrongful Death Lawyer

30 years ago no one was talking about mediation, and now it is the #1 way almost all civil cases resolve. In fact, many lawyers are in mediation multiple times per month and sometimes weekly. So what is it? According to a wrongful death lawyer with our friends at Kiefer & Kiefer, mediation is a structured and voluntary dispute resolution process in which a neutral third party, known as the mediator, helps individuals or parties in conflict to communicate, negotiate, and reach a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute.

How Does Mediation work?

Mediation means that you have not agreed to settle, nor has the other side. Both sides have only agreed to go in good faith to mediation to talk about the case honestly and openly and try to settle in good faith. What does that mean? It means that everyone is going with the intention of trying to settle the case and not for some improper purpose. This could mean going to a mediation with no intention to settle, but only to see if the other side has any “smoking guns” or defenses you did not know about.

An attorney does not know exactly what the Defendants will pay in a case if no other agreements or deals have been made. Therefore, going into the mediation process with an open mind – to both advocate for your case, but also listen to what the other side has to say and to what the mediator has to say — is crucial to making the process work.

What is the Mediation Process?

Selection of Mediator: The parties involved in the dispute or conflict typically agree on a mediator or seek the services of a professional mediator. Oftentimes, these mediators have experience doing thousands of mediations.

Initial Meeting: The mediator meets with the parties separately or together to explain the mediation process, set ground rules, and establish a safe and respectful environment for communication. At this meeting, it is likely that each party – typically through the attorney, has the opportunity to express the way that they view the case. The parties then break off into separate rooms.

Negotiation: With the mediator’s assistance, the parties engage in open and constructive communication, exploring potential solutions and compromises. The mediator may use various communication and negotiation techniques to facilitate the conversation.

Agreement: If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator assists in drafting a formal written agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the resolution. This agreement is generally binding and can be enforceable in a court of law, depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the dispute.

How long does the mediation take?

Put simply, there is no set amount of time for how long the mediation will take. You should prepare to stay the whole day, but your lawyer is only going to recommend you stay for as long as you continue to make progress. It is a slow process that requires patience, but it does work, so do not get fatigued on it.

If you would like to get the mediation process started, reach out to an attorney near you for help on your case immediately.