Mediation Procedure

The mediation process is quite different from the litigation process. Parties who decide to attempt to resolve their dispute through mediation may choose together who may preside as mediator during their negotiations. There are no formal documents that need to be sent to either party or the mediator, although the individual mediator may request party statements beforehand. The mediator has the ability to guide the parties' discussion and the mediation process in whichever way the mediator and parties decide together would be most beneficial to the successful resolution of the matter. Consequently, each mediation will be different.

Generally, at the beginning of the mediation process, the mediator will take the initiative and explain to the parties both the nature of mediation and what will happen in the mediation session specifically. The parties may then be asked to discuss their concerns, needs and what they hope to achieve. From this point, with the mediator's assistance the parties can narrow the issues and uncover underlying interests that they may not have been consciously aware of that were impeding their ability to resolve the matter. The mediator may then try to get the parties to agree on an agenda of interests that need to be addressed. Once an agenda has been set, the mediator will help the parties explore their interests as they relate to the current dispute. By keeping the discussion flowing, the parties may be able to come to a better understanding of their own motivations, as well as each other's.

After each issue has been explored to the parties' satisfaction, the mediator may then choose to encourage a brainstorming session to generate possible solutions to the problems facing each party. Since mediation is an interactive process, both parties will be encouraged to contribute to a list of options for settlements. Creativity is fundamental to the mediation, so no suggestion or option is without merit.

The end of the mediation, if not predetermined, will be identified by the mediator. If the parties come to a mutually agreeable solution to their dispute, the mediator will work with the parties to draft a mediation agreement. Each party will have opportunity to revise the draft agreement as they see fit. Once the draft is completed, each party will be asked to sign. Copies of the agreement will be given to each party. Should a settlement not be reached before the end of the mediation process, this does not prohibit the parties from bringing the matter back for mediation in the future.