Litigation is sometimes necessary to resolve a dispute. It is, however, usually expensive, lengthy and time-consuming. Pre-suit mediation is an effective and efficient alternative for many types of disputes. A mediation involves a private negotiating session with the decision-makers and their counsel in the same building (although usually not in the same room) with the neutral mediator taking the communications between or among the rooms in a series of private meetings with the principals.
In the right circumstances, mediation offers a number of advantages. These advantages include:
- Confidentiality – you can avoid airing dirty laundry which could harm your business.
- When disputes are resolved by mutual agreement on-going relationships are more easily maintained.
- A good mediator can act as a buffer when egos or emotions are blocking resolution. The mediator can absorb anger and allow it to dissipate.
- A good mediator can ascertain what is really driving the dispute.
- Mediation allows the parties to be creative in crafting a fair and lasting resolution.
- The time for resolution is greatly compressed.
- There is cost savings in the resolution.
Disputes that tend to lend themselves to resolution by mediation include employee/employer disputes, partnership disputes, land line arguments, landlord/tenant issues and family disputes over property or responsibilities. Many other types of disputes are routinely resolved through mediation. If the parties are genuinely seeking to resolve the disagreement(s), mediation has a high rate of success. If one is seeking an admission of fault or responsibility, it may not be an effective approach. The suitability of mediation as an approach to resolving any dispute or claim should be considered early in the process. It may save time, money and expenditure of emotional capital.
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