In addition to minimizing the cost exposure entailed in settling a dispute and keeping matters confidential and out of the public eye, Mediation puts the Parties in control of the settlement process from beginning to end.
From the very first meeting with the Mediator, the Parties determine the subject matter suitable for mediation. Parties generally mediate all aspects of an agreement; however, in some cases, Parties may wish to only mediate certain portions of the agreement.
Further, Parties may terminate the mediation at any stage of the process if they do not feel suitable progress is being made or if they feel the other Party is not acting in good faith. Cooperation between the Parties is critical for a successful outcome, but the entire process is voluntary.
The Parties, with the assistance of the Mediator leading them through the process, start by sharing the information they feel is relevant and important in order for both Parties to make good decisions. The mediation process then includes the Mediator:
Helping the Parties articulate the underlying interests of their positions in the dispute;
Developing options that might satisfy the interests of both Parties;
Assisting the Parties in evaluating the options based on each of the Party’s interests;
Generating alternatives with the Parties that keep the Parties’ interests in mind;
Summarizing information to help Parties come to agreement;
Reviewing the agreements made between the Parties; and
Documenting the decisions made by the Parties in the manner in which the Parties have agreed.
Parties can always defer to the alternative of litigation and let a judge or jury decide. However, keep in mind that Parties who come to their own decisions affecting their future are generally more satisfied with the resolution.