Q: What is Mediation?
A: Mediation is a confidential process wherein the disputing parties meet with a mutually selected impartial and neutral person who assists in the resolution of their differences through the use of specialized communication and negotiation techniques.
Q: Why is mediation better than going to court:
A: In a trial, the parties present evidence and argument so a judge or jury decides the outcome of the dispute (a “win-lose” solution). If you resolve the dispute in mediation, there is less uncertainty regarding the outcome because you are not gambling on what the judge or jury might decide. In mediation, the mediator assists the parties as they talk about their dispute to help them find and explore mutually acceptable resolutions for their dispute (“win-win” solutions).
If you reach an agreement at mediation, you do not have to go to trial, take depositions, or testify on the stand. Since mediation is a discussion between the parties it is often much quicker than the formal process of a trial and is often much more cost effective than going to court both monetarily and in stress. Further, because mediation often addresses the root cause of the conflict, the parties are often able to salvage and even improve their relationship.
Q: What do I do as a Mediator?
A: I facilitate communication between the disputing parties. I use active listening techniques to respectfully and empathetically understand the concerns of both parties. I also use open ended questions to empower the parties to develop creative solutions and control their vision for the solution. I keep private discussions confidential and use any information I receive to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable resolution to each situation. Due to my training and experience as an attorney, mediator, and past business executive, I am in a unique position to quickly grasp and understand the complexities and dynamics of a dispute. Through this experience and training I can provide a clearer understanding of potential options by analyzing the issues and identifying risks involved to help the parties efficiently and creatively resolve their conflict.
Q: What is the advantage of hiring an attorney as a mediator?
A: Although there is no longer a requirement to be an attorney to be a mediator in Florida, there is a great advantage to hiring an attorney to mediate your dispute. A mediator cannot give legal advice in mediation because it is the mediator’s job to remain neutral. However, a mediator, who has the legal education and experience of an attorney, will know the proper questions to facilitate, assist and empower each party to identify and distinguish between the legal issues and non-legal (often emotional) issues that often hamper the ability to reach a solution.
Q: How long does mediation take?
A: The average mediation lasts between 2-4 hours. However, you should plan for a half or full day mediation to allow plenty of time to explore various settlement options in more complicated matters.
Q: What is a caucus?
A: A caucus is a fancy name for a private meeting. A caucus is one of the tools use by a mediator to help the parties confidentially and freely discuss their ideas, concerns, issues, and realistically assess each party’s case. In the private meeting please feel free to share, disclose or discuss with me anything you feel is pertinent to your decision-making process. I shall keep anything said in a private meeting confidential unless the disclosing party gives me permission to disclose the information or where disclosure is required by law.
Q: What are the mediator’s qualifications? (Go To Experience)
A: As a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, I been through a rigorous two-part training program that contained both classroom and real-world training. Certified mediators are bound by ethical and procedural rules of conduct and are required to participate in additional training every two years in order to keep their certification current.
Q: If the mediator is also a lawyer, why can’t she give one or both of us legal advice?
A: The role of a mediator is quite separate from the role of a lawyer. A mediator has to remain neutral and not be partial to either party. Therefore, a mediator can use their knowledge to assist parties during the mediation but cannot give legal advice.