Calabasas, Burbank, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica Attorney Eric J. Gold

Do you have an ongoing legal dispute, but want to avoid the time and expense of a trial? Does the matter leave you in conflict with someone who you want to maintain a relationship with after the case is over? Do you have goals other than winning at all costs? If so, mediation may be right for you.

How Mediation Works

Mediation is a voluntary process where the parties meet with a neutral party who helps facilitate discussions. Mediation is increasingly being ordered during the early stages of lawsuits and other court claims.  Parties can also agree to enter into mediation outside the court system. Unlike arbitration, mediation is not binding and the mediator doesn’t make any decisions regarding the case.

A mediation session typically involves the parties, their attorneys, and the mediator. Each party is given an uninterrupted chance to explain their position. The mediator then facilitates back and forth discussions between the two sides. A mediator may speak to each side separately to better understand each party’s position in order to come up with alternative solutions.

Benefits of Mediation

Mediation involves much more than a simple back and forth over numbers or whatever issue is in dispute. Instead, the parties are encouraged to fully explain the rationale for their positions and explain how past actions by the other side may have affected them. The goal is not only to reach a financial agreement, but also to help the parties resolve and move past any bad feelings that may hinder negotiations or leave them with ongoing bad feelings even after a settlement is reached.

During mediation, an attorney can help their client articulate any legal reasoning behind their positions. They can also help their client assess whether the proposed settlement is beneficial when compared to the potential outcome in a court of law and the cost of further litigation. Finally, because much information is exchanged during mediation, the attorney’s presence may be useful because they will have a better understanding of the case if no settlement is reached and further proceedings are required.