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Choosing an Effective Mediator for Legal Disputes

Mediation is the most popular form of alternative dispute resolution. It involves bringing in a trained, neutral third party to help the parties reach an agreement. Mediation is cost- and time- friendly, confidential, and strives to promote cooperation and collaboration between disputing parties.  Many legal disputes across a wide range of issues can be resolved effectively through mediation prior to the commencement of litigation or as a means of concluding existing litigation. 

Tasks of a mediator

The driving force behind a successful mediation is the mediator. A mediator typically performs the following tasks: 

  • Gathering background information through interviews and other means
  • Communicating with the disputing parties and helping the parties communicate
  • Referring the parties to other people, programs, or organizations, where appropriate
  • Discussing and analyzing information
  • Helping the parties come to an agreement
  • Documenting key information

The best mediator is an impartial participant who facilitates the mediation process with the goal of fostering an atmosphere of mutual cooperation. It is important to take the mediator’s experience and interpersonal skills into account when choosing a mediator. 

Experience

Be sure to evaluate the prospective mediator’s previous legal and mediation experience.  In some cases, a mediator who has no special knowledge of the subject at hand may be the best choice since this person will have no preconceived notions of what the outcome should look like. In other cases, a mediator with substantive knowledge in the area of dispute can help the parties focus on key issues in an intelligent way. 

Interpersonal Skills

Because it is the mediator’s role to empower the parties. he/she should be open, able to communicative well, demonstrate neutrality, and oversee the mediation process with a sense of fairness and evenhandedness.  An effective mediator allows the parties to find their own solutions and agree on a lasting settlement of the conflict. 

Our Stockton mediation attorneys have more than 25 years of combined experience in mediating legal disputes.  If you think that mediation might help solve your dispute, contact our firm.

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