Mediation is a great tool for reaching a solution to your issue without resorting to litigation. As most people know, litigation can be very expensive and time-consuming, and the prospect of rolling the dice when it costs so much to play can be a great motivation to resolve your issues through mediation. However, mediation does take some time and effort on the part of the participants to make sure that it is productive. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are heading to mediation.
Make sure you have a good idea of where you stand
Although you won’t be litigating your case (unless mediation fails) you still need to have a good feel for where you stand. This means you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your position, and you need to have an idea of how a judge or a jury might react to the various parts of your case.
Some mediators may ask you to prepare a position paper or some similar document that sets out what your position is, and why that is your position. While this may seem tedious, it is very valuable for refining your stance and helping you to see just how strong (or weak) your case is.
Be willing to give a little bit
If your case heads to mediation, you must understand that an integral part of mediation is that each side may be giving up a little bit from the position where they would be if they were to win in litigation. This means that you may end up receiving less (or paying more) than you would if you were to litigate the case all the way through and win.
You trade a little bit of your potential winnings in order to lessen the risk you face. Litigation is usually a winner-takes-all type of proposition, whereas mediation can be more of a compromise. So be ready to give up a little bit, or pay a little bit, and you may very well find that mediation brings a result that all parties can live with.
Don’t expect a miracle
If you are going to mediation and there’s just no way that the two sides can meet somewhere in the middle, you should not expect that the mediator will be able to work a miracle. Mediation works when both parties are willing to budge from their respective positions; if that’s not the case, you may be better off heading straight to trial.