Why Mediate?

We’ve heard the term again and again, if we know lawyers we know the Rules of Court have changed to incorporate it, we may even know someone who has been to it, but honestly, how many people have a really great working knowledge of what it means to mediate?

What is mediation, why would you choose mediation, and when is it even appropriate to mediate? The answers are surprisingly simple: mediation is basically parties in conflict, sitting at a boardroom table with a mediator whose job is to help those parties talk it out. You choose mediation because it’s quick, it’s effective, it’s cheap compared to litigation, you set the agenda, you actively participate in the process, and you actually have a shot at resolving the dispute without hating the other guy with every fibre of your being and vowing never to do business with him again, thereby throwing away the years you spent cultivating the relationship in the first place. And you mediate at any stage, whether at first hint of a problem, allowing you to cut to the chase before spending thousands on litigation, or in advance of a distant trial date, when all of the information is there just waiting to be discussed.

And did I mention you save money? I believe I did, but it bears repeating. You save money. If our litigation settlement rate is somewhere around 95%, that means that most of your disputes will never see the inside of a courtroom, but you will spend thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, gearing up to not get to trial. What if you had a parallel stream of dispute resolution, where every claim, every contract dispute was sent to mediation early to see if it could be quickly resolved. You needn’t give up your litigation option; those matters that don’t or can’t settle still go to litigation, but financially, you are way ahead of the game if even a fraction settle up front. Huge potential for gain versus very little risk.

What is mediation? It’s a civilized, efficient way to get the job done. So maybe the better question is – why not mediate?

Posted on April 15th, 2011 by admin