When two parties have a conflict that may result in one filing suit against the other, mediation may represent a way of avoiding trial. Federal courts have mediation programs, which serve to resolve issues without the expense of a trial. Mediators are attorneys with at least five years of experience, who are appointed by the court; often they do not charge for their services.
Mediators must be impartial and may suggest alternatives, clarify issues, assist in negotiating, and provide guidance in reaching a final agreement. They hold the proceedings in confidence, but do not play the role of judge or jury in that they do not provide a decision or rule based on the law.
Mediation can be advantageous for the parties in conflict because it is less expensive than going to trial, allows them to know the other party’s best offer, and allows for a range of solutions to be presented and considered. Often, client satisfaction is higher following mediation than it is after a trial.
About the author: William Barzee is a trial attorney practicing in Miami, Florida.