Mediation Myths: What You Should Know

Posted by LADR on Jan 12th, 2015 in Employment Mediation

Many myths exist about the mediation process. Understanding the misconceptions and knowing what is reality makes it easier to determine whether mediation is the right option for settling your dispute. What are some of the most common myths about mediation?

“Some Cases are Not Right for Mediation”

While there are certainly instances in which mediation is not effective, it is the very rare situation where the “case is not right” for mediation. Resolution of a dispute through mediation is normally appropriate in all types of cases, as long as the timing is right and the participants are ready to work together to find a solution. In order to accomplish success in mediation, parties must share information and be open to discussion and compromise. A skilled mediator can help, as long as he or she has the information needed to guide disputing parties toward a solution.

“Communication in Mediation is No Different than Litigation”

In litigation, including in arbitration, strict rules govern communication between attorneys, judges/arbitrators, and disputing parties. Ex parte communication with the fact-finder is not permitted. Attorneys communicate in a formal way through expensive discovery, motions, and briefs.

In mediation, communication between the parties and the mediator is much more informal. The parties can communicate directly with each other and the mediator. The mediator does speak separately with each party and/or counsel before and during the mediation. Indeed, pre-mediation conferences with the mediator are encouraged in order to ensure that the mediator clearly understands the legal and factual disputes in the case. The goal is to create an open and honest environment that makes everyone comfortable enough to negotiate. Communication is the heart of every successful mediation session.

“Failed Mediation Results in a Need for Litigation”

Some people assume that resolution in mediation is a long-shot and will just “waste” time. The truth is even an unsuccessful mediation session does not automatically require the parties to end up in litigation. Successful mediators are persistent and willing to stay with a case until it is resolved, even if it requires more than one meeting. Many experienced mediators will have ideas for moving past an impasse to help the parties create solutions. Skilled mediators work with disputing parties to reach a resolution that is right for everyone involved.

Mediation is not one-size-fits-all. If you would like to learn more about employment mediation and clear up any misconceptions you might have, contact our office online or call 303-798-2533 to schedule a consultation.