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When Mediation Fails

Article By Travis Jensen in The real world

JJ-Blog-Mediation-3There are at least two sides to every story. And while you may think your side is the correct one, there will always be someone to dispute it. Going to trial to see if you’re right can be time consuming, expensive, and frustrating. Instead, we help our clients with the opportunity to resolve their case through mediation.

What is mediation

Mediation is an informal, though often court-mandated, meeting for all parties in a case to reach a settlement before going to the courthouse. While there is a lot of preparation and presentations are made by both sides, it is still an off-the-record conversation where parties have the opportunity to focus on a compromise and negotiate.

The benefits of mediation

Mediation is a great time for everyone to become more realistic about what they want the outcome to be. It’s important to be patient and to keep an open mind to allow for a more successful settlement. By reaching an agreement, everyone will be able to avoid the fees and time that would have to be put into a trial, as well as the risks of an unpredictable result.

How clients can prepare for mediation

Everything may not turn out the way you want it to in court, and mediation is no different. When helping our clients prepare for mediation, we go beyond gathering facts and developing a position. We help our clients mentally prepare for any possible outcome of mediation. It can be hard to hear the other party tell you that everything you think is wrong, and it is easy to feel deflated if a mediation doesn’t go as planned. We’re here to help our clients through this and prepare for the next steps if necessary.

What to do when mediation fails

It can be very frustrating when mediation fails. You put a lot of preparation into it, hoping you would come to an agreement and the process would be over. It’s important to step back, take a deep breath, and remember that not everything is lost. Even a failed mediation is a great learning process. You now know where the other side stands and their sticking points for when the case proceeds to trial. This helps us to develop a better position that directly addresses the other party’s argument. Just because you didn’t settle the case that day, does not mean that it won’t still settle. Progress has still been made that will benefit you moving forward to trial.

It’s commonly said after a successful mediation that both parties gave up their best day to avoid their worst day. When going through mediation, you likely won’t get exactly what you wanted. But it provides you with a way of compromising and striking a deal to avoid the worst-case scenario at a later date in court. During a trial, you don’t have complete control over the jury or how people will see your side of the story. But in mediation, you have the opportunity to have more control with a better outcome.