Filing a lawsuit may not be the best way to deal with friction in your business. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and messy. If you are interested in resolving a corporate or commercial dispute without going to court, mediation may be a good fit.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method led by a neutral third party called a mediator. It is less formal than a trial or arbitration but far more structured than a simple chat. Most mediations progress through the following stages:
- Stage 1: Mediator’s opening statement. The mediator will usually begin the process with a brief description of his or her training and experience before covering the goals and rules of mediation. At this time, the mediator will remind the disputants that the objective is to cooperate and work toward a mutually beneficial settlement.
- Stage 2: Problem determination. Each party will be invited to explain the dispute and the circumstances that led up to it. Consequences of the dispute and other related issues will be identified. A key to facilitative mediation is that the parties allow each other to speak without interruption.
- Stage 3: Generation of options and alternatives: The disputants will meet privately with the mediator in separate rooms. The mediator will go between the rooms to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each position and to trade offers. These meetings continue as needed during the allotted time and make up the bulk of mediation.
- Stage 4: Closure. If the parties are able to reach an agreement, they will likely sign a written summary of the terms. It is best to do this with legal counsel present. If the parties did not reach an agreement, they may decide to meet again later or resume negotiations over the phone. There are no legal penalties for failing to settle at mediation.
Find Out if You Should Use Mediation
Mediation can be an essential tool for solving disputes and it has a high success rate. However, it may not be appropriate for every case. Contact our lawyers at 402-371-4300 for advice regarding your specific situation. Copple, Rockey, & Schlecht P.C., L.L.O. serves clients in Omaha, Norfolk, and other areas of Nebraska.