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Civil Mediation

Mediation - ADR Services

What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential meeting that is held with a neutral mediator, the disputing parties and their representatives. The goal of mediation is to work through the conflict with the two or multiple parties and find a mutually acceptable resolution – without having to go to court. Frequently, judges will order mediation before an actual trial, although mediation can take place at any time during a dispute to assist the parties with finding a mutually acceptable conflict resolution

How does mediation work?
The parties upon mutual agreement select the Mediator, date time and location for the meeting that is acceptable to everyone involved.

During this actual mediation process, each party will have an equal opportunity to present his or her side of the story in a congenial, yet structured, format. The mediator will lead the discussion from both parties. During this process, the mediator may caucus privately with one or both of the parties, yet the overall process is open and aboveboard at all times.

Once both parties have fully presented their case, the mediator will use his or her considerable conflict resolution skills to assist the parties with reaching an agreement and resolving the conflict, eliminating the hassle and expense of future legal procedures. When the parties reach an agreement, the mediator and/or party representatives will create a resolution agreement for all parties to sign. Signed resolution agreements are binding between the parties.

However, if the parties are not able to resolve their dispute in mediation, the mediator returns the matter to the referring office.

When should mediation be an option?
Mediation can take place at any stage in the complaint process. However, we believe that mediation is most effective when it takes place early in the disagreement, before positions have solidified and reached a point where compromise is no longer an option. Many times, judges will recommend mediation at a point in the conflict when he or she believes that a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.

The mediator’s role is not to evaluate or judge the parties' positions, but rather to encourage the parties to reveal and clarify their interests, with the ultimate goal of having the parties themselves develop a resolution based on the mediator’s guidance.

How is the mediation process structured?
In general the mediation process consists of five main segments and may vary depending on the case specifics or the nature of the issues.

Yet overall, we follow this process for most basic mediation sessions with great success:

Segment 1: Overview by the mediator
The mediator explains the Mediation Guidelines. These guidelines serve as a sort of “rule of order” for the mediation process, and outlines what may or may not happen at mediation session, and outline things that definitely should not happen. Once both parties understand the ground rules, they are asked to sign the Agreement to Mediate.

Segment 2: Presentation of facts by both parties
The mediator will ask each party to describe the disputed issues as well as identify concerns and interests that have a bearing on the dispute. Each side will have an opportunity to present the facts they believe are pertinent to their case so that the mediator will have all the facts at his or her disposal.

One very important aspect of this process is that the mediator will ask each of the parties for their proposals on how to resolve the dispute.

Segment 3: Collaboration between all parties
After thoroughly listening to and comprehending the issues each side is presenting, the mediator will promote and lead discussions between the parties.

The goal for the mediator in this segment of the session is to fully comprehend and articulate the concerns and interests of each side, and facilitate a subsequent discussion between the parties. Through this facilitated dialogue, the parties will better understand each other's concerns and interests.

Segment 4: Caucusing (if necessary)
In some cases, the mediator may decide to talk individually with each party to further clarify concerns and interests. This may be particularly useful in cases where there is some open hostility, for instance, if a case has progressed to the point where each side is confident of their position.

If the mediator does decide to talk with someone privately, the process will still be very open. Of course the opposing side will not be privy to that conversation, but the mediator will make it a point to let the opposing parties know that the process is still extremely neutral and will continue to remain so.

Segment 5: Resolution
Once an agreement between parties has been reached, the mediator will put the terms in writing for the parties to sign. This Resolution Agreement is a binding court document and will hold up in any court of law. However, if the parties do not come to a resolution, the complainant may continue the processing of complaint.

Why would someone choose mediation instead of the standard judicial process?
Local courts, as well as District, Regional and Federal, are using mediation as a “threshold requirement” before obtaining a trial date or going to trial. Or in layman’s terms, they are using mediation as a stepping stone to the standard judicial process, so that the judicial system can be more efficient.

This threshold requirement prerequisite reflects the importance and value of a process that has really only been used extensively in the last 15 or 20 years.

Of course you may wonder that if the courts recognize the significance of mediation, then why such a valuable process should not be used earlier, before all the hassle and expense of litigation begin.

The answer is that more and more businesses and corporate attorneys and other professionals are turning to private, pre-litigation mediation to avoid the consequences of protracted litigation. In other words, once a business receives notice that legal action is being taken against them, they would much rather resolve the dispute in a less public mediation session rather than in a jury trial.

Mediation, in effect, provides the parties who are involved in the dispute with an efficient and cost-effective way to resolve disputes much more quickly than the standard legal process.

Mediation saves time, minimizes tension between parties, and more often than not, discovers a solution to the problem.

Moreover, mediation is entirely voluntary and a proposed compromise may be accepted or rejected by the participants. Just because someone participates in mediation does not mean they have to accept the agreement. If a client feels strongly about his or her case and they don’t feel that an adequate compromise has been reached, they can still decide to take their case to trial.

The mediation participants are ultimately their own Judge and Jury and only they control the final verdict. They are not left to the mercy of a third party judgment to determine what they must do. Also, with mediation, the client gets a quick opportunity to be heard in an informal environment than might otherwise be available.

Since the parties reach an overall agreement themselves with the help of a mediator, they are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome and to comply with the terms of the agreement. Mediation is confidential and inaccessible to the public unless required by law. Mediation offers an opportunity for parties to resolve their dispute and move on with their lives after one meeting.

Does mediation really work?
Mediation is nearly always a good solution to the standard legal process because it’s much less intimidating than a courtroom setting, likewise much less intense and moreover is much less expensive. Conflict resolution sessions can be particularly helpful when the parties have an ongoing relationship or a previous relationship.

For instance, workplace conflicts are ideal for mediation because the parties see each other on a regular basis during the course of the dispute. In a domestic situation, mediation often works well between spouses. They obviously know each other very well, so they would perhaps be more comfortable dealing with their conflict in a less stern environment.

Conflict resolution can reduce tensions before relationships become irreparably damaged. Sometimes, simply providing a neutral forum in which parties can state their concerns may be sufficient to resolve the dispute. The insights gained from the mediation process can lead to a workable solution that addresses some or perhaps all of the parties' interests.

What are the benefits of mediation?

1. Speed – mediation is often faster because it can be scheduled immediately, without having to wait for an open court date.

2. Reduces stress – mediation sessions are much more informal and less intimidating than a court room setting.

3. Easy to schedule – you set your mediation around your own schedule and the schedule of the other party. Unlike the judicial system, mediations can occur during the evening or on the weekends, which is much more convenient for most people.

4. Customizable – the mediation session is always geared specifically to your problem and your problem alone, so there is greater creativity in tailoring the solution to fit the problem.

5. Offer a way to salvage relationships – conducting a mediation session will allow the debate to be discussed in a very civilized and easy manner, which may result in the continuation of business relationships that otherwise may have been destroyed in court.

6. Greater control of the outcome – the parties decide if they want to accept or reject the solution the mediator suggests. If they do reject it, there are no penalties or appeals; the case just simply enters the formal legal process.

7. Cost effective – mediation offers lower legal fees than a typical lawyer or law firm. And, because it can happen much sooner than a court case, it offers quicker receipt of settlement funds.

8. Timely – mediation can avoid long delays, which could have an impact changing business markets.

9. Flexible – even though mediation offers clients the choice to conduct negotiations face-to-face in a less hostile forum than the court environment, participants can still choose to have legal counsel present as consultants or advisors. They can be present during the actual mediation, or, if a client prefers, their legal representative can review the final negotiated settlement before they agree to it.

10. Closure – once mediation is complete and the parties reach an agreement, no further litigation will occur.

Where do mediation sessions take place?
Mediation sessions are really very flexible. They can take place in our offices, or they can take place at any other location that is acceptable to both parties – for instance, at a hotel conference room or in an office building.

The most important thing to note is that mediation always takes place in a conference room-type of a setting – never in a courtroom.

How long does a mediation session last?
Mediation can be scheduled for a half-day or a full day. Sometimes it may last for a few days.
Of course each case is different, and the length of time it takes to reach a positive resolution will vary based on the complexity of the case and the willingness and flexibility of the involved parties. However, the mediator is always committed to performing mediation efficiently. The length of the mediation depends on the parties and how quickly they are able to work together to reach a resolution. However, it is generally expected that the parties will reach a resolution in one session of either a half-day or a full day. The mediator is skilled in trying to reach a resolution quickly and effectively.

Is mediation confidential?
Yes, mediation is always confidential, which is one of its positive points. Confidentiality is assured because the parties must sign a document before mediation even begins stating they will not reveal the issues discussed during the session to others with the exception of allowed by legal counsel.

In addition, the mediator will always maintain the confidentiality of the issues items discussed during the mediation.

Mediators treat the confidentiality aspect much like the doctor/patient relationship. Privacy is very important to the clients because it provides them with the opportunity to reveal their true concerns. Yet it is also clear during the process that the only thing to be gained from the mediation is the conflict resolution.

Who will actually be the mediator?
The mediator is what is known as a “neutral,” which means that he or she has absolutely no connection with either party. The mediator that will be assigned to each case will vary based on specialization, language spoken, and experience, among other things. However, clients can be certain that all mediators have received comprehensive training in mediation techniques and are certified by the Supreme Court and other specialized organizations.

Who Should Attend the Mediation Session?
The only people that should attend the mediation session, other than the mediator, are the parties themselves (either individual parties or group parties). If a client chooses to do so, he or she may also wish to have legal representation, although that isn’t necessary nor is it required.
No witnesses or other individuals are allowed to participate or observe the mediation, unless everyone consents. People with the legal authority to settle disputes and people with extensive knowledge about the issues in dispute may also attend the mediation. If any other people would assist in bringing the issue to resolution, they should also be encouraged to attend. In cases where those with authority to settle cannot physically attend, they should be available by phone. However, every concerned party should make every effort to physically be present at the mediation session.

How Much Does Mediation Cost?
Hourly fees for our mediators cover a wide range, from approximately $150 per hour to $800 per hour. The cost factors depend in part on the mediator (and his or her experience level) and the complexity of the issues being discussed. Many of our mediators offer both half- day and full-day rates. You may contact us directly to obtain fees for a specific mediator or if you would like to request someone you already are aware of. However, we will be happy to recommend a mediator to you based on your case.

When do the sessions start?
Typically, our mediation sessions start at 9:00 a.m. local time, and our half day mediation sessions may start either at 9:00 a.m. and run until approximately noon, or they may start at 2:00 p.m. and run until 5:00 p.m. Of course, the parties may wish to make other arrangements with the mediator, and generally our mediators are happy to accommodate our clients.

What is the “Resolution Agreement” and what does it mean?
Once the mediator reaches an agreement with input from the parties involved, he or she will draft a resolution agreement. A resolution agreement is a written document that outlines what everyone has agreed upon verbally. It is a binding legal document for all parties.

In general, the Resolution Agreement contains the details of the Agreement and a confidentiality provision. All parties will have ample opportunity to review the Resolution Agreement before signing it.

In the event that a case is not settled, it will be returned to the referring organization for further processing.

Member Spotlight


Tel: 305-931-4333



Tel: 305-931-4333



Tel: 305-931-4333


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Mediate ASAP LLC
1 East Broward Blvd.
Suite 700
Ft. Lauderdale
FL 33301


Tel: 305-931-4333
Fax: 305-931-4409

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