Mediation is an effective alternative form of dispute resolution. It focuses on helping the parties align their interests and resolve their dispute in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties involved. Some of the most important reasons you should consider solving your issues or disputes through the mediation process are discussed below. We can further discuss the mediation process with you during a confidential consultation.
Mediation Avoids the Expensive Litigation Process
Mediation is an alternative to the litigation process. When you confront a business dispute and move toward litigation, you and your business partner or contractor may become adversaries. You each hire your own lawyers who speak on your behalf. You have no contact with the other party and make claims and counterclaims against each other. Each legal filing increases the cost of this process.
Any lawyer can tell you that litigation is expensive. In addition to hefty attorney’s fees, you also have court costs, discovery costs, expert witness fees and other costs to contend with. Additionally, you will lose time away from your business to appear at court hearings, depositions and meetings with your lawyer.
There is no guarantee that after paying all of these costs that you will actually get the outcome that you want. You may lose in court. Even if you win, you then have to worry about enforcing the court order which may be derailed if the other party files bankruptcy or appeals the decision, further increasing the time it takes to resolve the case.
When you choose mediation, you can avoid many of the costs associated with litigation. The earlier you take advantage of this process, the more money you can potentially save. Mediation costs can be split between the parties, further increasing your savings. An overwhelming number of cases that mediated result in settlement and avoid expensive verdicts.
Mediation is a Collaborative Process
Mediation is much different from litigation, which pits parties against each other. Mediation is a collaborative process in which the parties work together to try to solve a problem that is negatively affecting them. A skilled mediator uses effective communication techniques to improve the communication between the parties and facilitates communication. The mediator encourages the parties to resolve their dispute on their own terms and to brainstorm possible solutions to their problems.
By expertly guiding the parties through this process, a mediator provides objective information to the parties about the weaknesses of their case and the potential negative outcomes they may confront by proceeding with the litigation process. The mediator may inform the parties of similar cases that involved the same issue as the one the parties are confronting and how the court ruled against their position. Having this information can give you a more realistic idea about your case and the possible consequences.
You Can Select a Mediator with Subject Matter Expertise
One of the major advantages of mediation is that you can select a mediator who has subject matter expertise in the type of dispute that you are confronting. When you litigate a case, a random judge or jury is assigned to make the decision. They may not have any background in business, real estate or other areas that are important for a fundamental understanding of the issues involved.
David Levene is the founder of Levene Mediation. He also founded a nationally known business reorganization law firm and has more than 40 years of legal experience. He is a recognized expert in business restructuring, commercial litigation and bankruptcy. His mediation practice specializes in resolving cases involving bankruptcy, commercial, corporate, general business and real estate. He has been involved in many complex cases and has an in-depth understanding of the legal issues involved in these types of claims. By deciding to mediate your claim with David Levine, you are choosing to have an expert involved in the process.
Mediation Helps Parties Preserve Their Relationship
Mediation has successfully been used for years for people involved in business relationships. Because mediation is a collaborative process, and not an adversarial one, parties can often preserve their relationship. Parties may be able to continue a contract or stay business partners by using mediation.
At the beginning of mediation, the mediator will discuss the mediation process and lay down the ground rules. The mediator will emphasize that the parties must maintain a respectful demeanor with the other party and the mediator at all times. By emphasizing the importance of respectful communication, the mediator can often help the parties reach a mutually satisfactory agreement through effective communication and conflict resolution skills.
Many business disputes arise because of misunderstandings. The mediator can often uncover these underlying issues and clear up misunderstandings. By tackling the emotional issues and confronting the unique dynamics involved in the case, the mediator can often successfully help the parties get their relationship back on track.
Mr. Levine’s calm demeanor and his uncanny ability to establish rapport with the parties places them at ease in a way that allows them to break down common barriers to resolution. At the end of the process, the parties are often able to shake hands on an agreement and maintain a professional relationship.
Mediation Addresses Underlying Emotions
Most aspects of the legal system are not concerned with the emotional aspect of issues. Business dealings can often involve strong emotions if a business partner feels unvalued or disrespected. Employment issues may involve emotional issues stemming from staff feeling disenfranchised or unimportant. Family businesses may have years of complicated dynamics that are affecting the current business dealings.
An effective mediator will get to the bottom of disputes and address the emotional issues. By giving time and respect to these emotions, the mediator can often help the parties to develop a broader understanding of the issues and position them to better resolve them.
Mediation Is Empowering
The legal process often alienates participants. Once a party turns to the litigation process to resolve a legal issue, he or she is handing over all of their power. Mediation lets people who are directly involved in a dispute develop mutual solutions and meet their own needs and interests.
Mediation Saves Time
One of the major benefits of mediation is that it can be scheduled at any time during the dispute process. The more time the parties are disputing, the more solidified they can become in their positions. By quickly scheduling mediation at a time that is convenient to the parties and the mediator, disputes can be resolved much quicker. This saves time and money.
Mediation Is Less Formal
Going to court does not provide an easy feeling to most people. They may feel very insecure about what to say in open court, how to dress and how to present themselves, all within a very limited amount of time.
Mediation is less formal, often conducted in a conference room or private office. This environment typically puts parties at ease and helps them concentrate on the issues involved in the case instead of outward appearances.
Mediation Is Private and Confidential
Business owners must look at more than just the direct costs associated with litigation. They must also look at other costs associated with litigating issues, such as:
- Damage to the business’ reputation
- Damage to their own reputation
- Loss of productivity
- Loss of time when a project stalls out
- Time away from work to attend meetings with lawyers, depositions and hearings
- The toll that stress has on the business and its staff
Mediation can minimize many of these costs because it is a private process. Business owners do not have to worry about public disclosures about negative information regarding their business as they have to when going through litigation.
Additionally, mediation is confidential. Anything said during this process cannot later be used in litigation. The parties and the mediator cannot discuss what was shared during mediation. This allows the parties to communicate openly without fear of their comments later being disclosed in open court.
Mediation Focuses on Interests, Not Positions
What makes mediation unique is that it is focused on the parties’ interests, not legal positions. While the case involves legal issues, effective mediators will try to get the parties to consider what their interests are and how to meet them. For example, parties may have multiple concerns, such as:
- Preserving a business relationship with the other party
- Avoiding litigation costs
- Avoiding disruption to the business
- Getting paid for a claim in a bankruptcy case
- Protecting the reputation of the business
These interests can often be met during the mediation process. When the parties vehemently argue their positions, they fail to consider ways that they can meet their interests. Locking into a particular position serves as a barrier to problem solving.
Mediators can encourage creative problem solving by focusing on the parties’ underlying interests. By getting the parties to consider what outcome they will be satisfied with and what their underlying interests are, an effective mediator can often help the parties reach an amicable agreement.
The Parties Control the Outcome
In litigation, the parties often give their power over to the jury. They do not directly control the outcome. They may provide testimony, but ultimately the judge or the jury will determine the outcome of the case.
The process is much different in mediation. The mediator is not a decision maker. He or she cannot impose a judgment on the parties in the same way a judge can. Instead, his or her role is to guide the parties toward settlement of their issues and to provide information about the repercussions of continued litigation. The parties retain control over the case at all times and only agree to settle their case if they are satisfied with the terms.
The Parties Can Reach Creative Solutions
Because the parties are not asking the court for redress, they have many more options regarding how to resolve their dispute. They can reach any legally enforceable agreement with the terms of their choosing.
Mr. Levene has a reputation of being a creative problem solver who is adept at bringing parties together to reach agreed solutions. He can encourage the parties to consider creative solutions that serve their mutual interests. For example, the parties may agree to modify a contract, terminate a contract or create a new contract with more favorable terms.
In other situations, the parties may agree to do future business together or use a third party of their choosing. There may be multiple legal issues involved in the dispute. The parties may agree to a package deal that addresses many of these issues, such as adjusting the price, payment method, penalties for nonpayment, delivery timelines, and other terms.
In other situations, the parties may be better served by unbundling these issues. By attacking one issue at a time, the parties may benefit from the momentum and reach solutions with which they are both satisfied.
The Parties Are More Likely to Adhere to the Agreement
Because the parties are an integral part of crafting solutions to the issues plaguing them, they are more likely to adhere to the terms they reach. This helps prevent problems in the future and litigation costs to try to force the party to adhere to the terms of the agreement.
Mediation Provides a Model to Resolve Problems in the Future
After parties have successfully resolved their issue through mediation, they are more likely to turn to this process to resolve any future problems. They may also use the skills that they learned during this process to have better communication and quickly resolve problems that crop up.
Contact an Experienced Mediator to Resolve Your Dispute
Mediation is an effective alternative to litigation. It provides businesspeople with a cost-effective option to resolve legal disputes and preserve their relationship with others. It also provides privacy, confidentiality and enhanced communication. Because it also saves time and money, it should be on the short list of options to consider when confronting a dispute. Mediation is easy to schedule. Levene Mediation can help you resolve your dispute. Call us at (310) 229-3310 to schedule your mediation.