Frequently Asked Questions
Attorneys may be present during the session. Attorney participation is usually occurs after the client presents counsel with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) to review. Conversations between the attorney and the mediator are by consent of the client only.
The MOU may or may not need court approval, depending on circumstances. If it is a comprehensive settlement of all disputed issues, your attorney will prepare the appropriate court documents to terminate pending litigation.
The process is confidential and no one is informed of offers made/rejected. You have any and all avenues available to you to settle or litigate that were available prior to mediation.
Parties are encouraged to consult with outside professionals in addition to attorneys. However if consultants are in the room they are subject to the Agreement to Mediate, including provisions on confidentiality and privilege.
This happens occasionally; parties can then re-convene, decide to modify on their own or proceed with other means and forums for resolution such as court.
Fees are discussed privately once contact is made. Fees are typically split evenly between the parties. The mediator has an engagement letter that is signed prior to the first session. Fees are payable at the time of session. Out of session work is billed on a quarter hour basis and payable through a retainer or upon receipt of invoice. Matters may settle in one or require more sessions. Sessions are usually schedule in two hour blocks of time.
The mediator practiced law for 18 years before changing directions to act solely as a mediator or arbitrator. The mediator has 40 hours family training, 72 hours of elder care training, and hundreds of other training hours in mediation and arbitration skills. The mediator is court certified under R. XVI which requires on-going training.
In mediation the parties are the decision makers. Each party decides if and how s/he wants to end the dispute. In the courtroom, rules of evidence apply. In the mediation session each party may freely and fully say what is important from his/her perspective. There is usually a winner and a loser. The loser can appeal, keeping the dispute alive for many years.
Usually yes; subject sometimes to attorney review/court approval. The parties can formalize the MOU in any manner deemed relevant.