Top Five Reasons Mediation Works
There’s a good reason that all 20 of Florida’s circuit courts order at least some portion of their caseload to mandatory mediation: The mediation process works to resolve disputes without going through expensive, time-consuming litigation in court. Here’s a look at why mediation is so successful in bringing parties to compromise on conflicts and avoiding the hassles associated with a full trial.
- Parties May Otherwise Not Negotiate
The door for compromise may never even be opened without the assistance of a neutral mediator to guide the discussion. Parties and their lawyers may bear that making a settlement offer is showing their hand or may be taken as a sign of weakness. Mediation provides the right setting for negotiations because the mediator directs the conversation toward productive topics that are more likely to lead to settlement.
- Negotiation Skills
Even where the parties are engaging in settlement discussions, the conversation can break down because they don’t possess critical negotiation skills. Attorneys that may excel in the trial environment aren’t always adept at trying to reach compromise: They’re often too focused on winning the case for their client rather than resolving a dispute that works well for both sides. A skilled mediator works with the parties to explore productive solutions to problems.
- Everyone at the Table
Stakeholders are required to be present at the mediation proceeding, so the process offers the opportunity for everyone to sit down at the bargaining table for the sole purpose of discussing compromise. The conversation is more productive than having attorneys act as mere messengers, going back and forth between the different sides with settlement offers. Plus, the parties are less likely to be distracted by other matters when they’re at the mediation table.
- Avoid the Risks of Trial
When you take a dispute to trial, one party wins and the other loses. Any time you bring a case in court, you risk defeat because the judge or jury isn’t convinced by your point of view. With mediation, there can be a win-win for the parties because they reach a compromise on some or all of the issues.
- Opportunity to Educate
The mediation session begins with an opening presentation by each side, where the parties present their side of the matter and emphasize important issues. When you have the complete picture, you have a clearer understanding of the other parties’ perspective. The participants gain a realistic view of the situation instead of one that’s been filtered through attorneys. Education of the significant issues may lead to consideration of settlement offers that would have otherwise been rejected.
Mediation may not work in every case, but the process is effective in resolving disputes related to certain family matters, construction cases, business conflicts, personal injury actions, and many other types of conflicts. These top five reasons offer great insight on why mediation works, but another factor that’s key to success is choosing the right mediation professional in Florida. You need a mediator that brings extensive experience and strong negotiation skills to the table, and can guide disputing parties to resolution. For more information on the benefits of mediation, please contact the Tampa office of Feldman Mediation & Arbitration Services.