Mediation allows parties to
settle their disputes with remedies that might not be available at the
It is not unusual for a business to find itself in a lawsuit with a
longtime vendor or customer over an unpaid account receivable, a
warranty problem or a dispute over terms and conditions of a sale.
Once a lawsuit is instituted not only do the parties incur the expense
of prosecuting and defending the lawsuit but an ongoing mutually
beneficial business relationship often ends. More often than not by
mediating a dispute not only can the lawsuit end but the preexisting
business relationship can be restored.
A party to a
lawsuit who has a personal hand in bringing about a resolution of a
dispute and a lawsuit will always feel vindicated at the end of a
successful mediation. The court process does not offer the face to
face meeting between parties and the free exchange of thoughts that a
mediation offers. Parties who are allowed to work out their own
resolutions to disputes always retain a deeper sense of satisfaction
as to the outcome than if the lawsuit was decided by a judge or jury.
all about risk. Parties are confronted with the risk of winning and
losing and the collateral effects of an adverse outcome. The perfect
set of facts is rare and every jury trial ultimately depends upon a
jury’s opinion of a party’s credibility. Every trial lawyer has
successfully tried cases that should have been lost and has lost cases
that should have been won. Many lawyers believe that a jury trial is
won or lost when the jury is picked. At mediation, the risks of trial
are thoroughly discussed and probable outcomes are examined. Through
this continuing examination of risk the parties become willing and do
reach a compromise of their positions.
Trials are held in public. Mediations are held in private. Testimony
in a trial is public. Conversations in a mediation are private. The
outcome of a trial is public. The outcome of a mediation can be made
private. In many business settings and in virtually all family and
personal disputes privacy and confidentiality are necessary not only
to protect the parties financial needs but their emotional ones as
well. The cash flow problem of a business, a spouse’s reasons for
divorce, or children’s special needs are just a few examples of things
that are no one’s business but the parties directly affected.
Mediation is held in private and is confidential. Disclosure of what
happens at a mediation is controlled by the parties to the mediation.
Unlike a court proceeding mediation records are not open to public
Mediations are scheduled by the parties. Although a court may order
mediation to take place by a certain date, the parties are free to
schedule the actual mediation date and time to fit their own
calendars. Clients may schedule appointments with me directly via my
At St. Louis Mediation & Arbitration Center a mediation is scheduled as early as a
day, a week or a month in advance. Unlike a trial, the case can be
mediated when everyone agrees to meet. In some cases, when an
injunction is sought for example, a mediation can be scheduled on very
short notice. A mediation can be scheduled in advance of the filing of
a lawsuit or the day before a trial is scheduled to begin.