At the Piatchek Law Firm, our mediators Joseph J. Piatchek and Scott G. Taylor provide mediation services for many types of cases and are able to assist clients throughout Missouri. If you are having trouble reaching an agreement in your case, contact one of our mediators today so that we can help you finally reach settlement.
What Is Mediation?
A mediation is a meeting conducted by an impartial third party that is aimed at settling a dispute between two parties who are in disagreement about something. The mediation process is voluntary and aimed at settling disputes without the parties having to resort to lengthy and expensive litigation. Through mediation, parties can often reconcile their differences, repair their relationship, settle their dispute, and/or reach a compromise.
Why Go to a Mediator?
You can go to a mediator for just about anything. For example, perhaps two business partners disagree about what to do next with their business. Maybe a husband and wife are considering a divorce but can’t decide on the terms. Perhaps two parties are already in conflict or engaged in a lawsuit, and they would like to find a cheaper or easier alternative to costly, stressful, and prolonged litigation. These are just a few of the many situations in which mediation could help.
Are There Different Types of Mediation?
Yes, there are different styles of mediators and different types of mediation. Several different schools of thought exist within the mediation profession. Two of the most well-known styles are “evaluative mediation” and “facilitative mediation.”
Evaluative Mediation: Evaluating the Strength of Your Case
In my experience, many mediators are “evaluative” mediators – i.e., they will evaluate your case and predict what will happen in court. Some may even go as far as to give an opinion on who will win, who is right/wrong, and how much either party may pay in damages or other costs. Simply put, these mediators focus on evaluating the case and its eventual outcome in court. They don’t necessarily focus on finding a solution that is agreeable to all parties.
For this reason, evaluative mediators are very popular with attorneys. Attorneys desire to find out (before the court date) what might happen in court. An evaluative mediation may be a helpful predictor of what a judge might do or a jury might think. An effective evaluative mediation can let both parties know where they stand and give useful insight into possible court outcomes. For example, evaluative mediations can confirm to an attorney or a client that they do indeed have a strong case. Alternatively, they can also confirm suspicions or doubts that a party’s case is weak. If one party has problems or doubts arise in the mediation, perhaps they will want to settle.
Facilitative Mediation: Helping the Parties to Reach Agreement
Whereas evaluative mediation tends to focus on the evaluation of case strength and what may happen in a courtroom, facilitative mediation is not focused on giving an opinion at all. Instead, the goal is simply to get the parties to agree. This type of mediator doesn’t care so much about who is right or wrong; he or she is only concerned with brokering a deal between the parties. Once agreement is reached, the problem can be dealt with, and both parties can move forward. A facilitative mediator desires to help the parties avoid excessive litigation by reaching agreement with more speed and ease than other methods, including court.
Ideally, our goal is to reach some sort of agreement by the end of the mediation session. Sometimes multiple sessions may be required when there are a lot of issues, or when the parties are far apart in the negotiations. If we are not able to reach agreement, we would at least like to make progress toward a compromise.
How Do We Reach a Compromise?
Compromise is an important element in facilitative mediation. Sometimes “compromise” means a true win-win scenario in which everyone is happy, such as in a business arrangement where the solution results in everyone making money, and the business relationship is preserved. Other times, “compromise” means everyone walks away a little disappointed, yet they can live with it and are able to move on. An example of this might be a divorce mediation – no one ever “wins” in a divorce, and the parties rarely enjoy going through it.
However, even in the latter scenario, the parties can at least feel good knowing that they saved time and money by avoiding the courtroom. In addition, they were able to take part in choosing their own destiny, rather than letting the issues be decided by a judge.
How Often Does Mediation Work?
Mediation is not for everyone. This is why mediation is a voluntary process. However, if the parties involved in a dispute are even somewhat interested in mediation, this is a good sign that a settlement may be possible. Parties who want to reduce the time, money, and stress associated with lawsuits are often great candidates for mediation. On the other hand, parties interested in “vindication,” “getting their day in court,” or proving who is “right” and “wrong” may not be good candidates for facilitative mediation. Remember that it may not hurt to try; in most situations, the worst that can happen is that both parties spend some money and time but don’t reach agreement.
Our Mediation Services
If you have any questions regarding mediation, call the Piatchek Law Firm at 417-882-5858 to schedule a complimentary consultation.