Along with arbitration—and in California, also judicial reference—the mediation setting is one of the most effective forms of alternative dispute resolution outside of the courtroom. Growing in popularity throughout the past few decades, this type of ADR involves a mediator who leads the process, acting in a decidedly neutral manner, rather than a deciding one. Unlike most court cases, the mediator usually meets with everyone involved before the process begins, calling to set up a time before the process is scheduled. This allows them to get to know everyone involved, and they will usually take extensive time to learn about the background of the dispute, and how everyone came to be involved.
Often, business parties involved in mediation have long-standing commercial relationships, and may even be friends or relatives in some cases. Because of this, voluntary mediation is popular when preservation of the relationship is perceived as important. The setting may have a lot to do with the ongoing success of mediations in the US. Most of them are successful, and most settings are much more laid-back, casual, and conducive to bringing forth a good discussion between the parties involved.
The dress is more casual, and the mediator may even be able to work around office schedules and allow all the processes to occur after work in the evenings, or on weekends when the ties are loosened up and the attitudes are more relaxed too. Most of us do not enjoy having to get all dressed up in formal business attire and sitting in a stuffy courtroom for hours, leading to some of the greatest benefits in mediation.
Mediation (with most being successful) often leads to faster resolution as people are more comfortable and motivated to reach a settlement that works. While mediators do not have to be licensed, they are usually extremely comfortable in the legal arena and may in fact be practicing attorneys or retired judges. Although there are some expenses involved in the process (mainly in paying the mediator), and it is becoming more expensive than it used to be, mediation is still usually exponentially less expensive than litigation—and offers much greater success.
The Bolender Law Firm will advocate on behalf of clients through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!