Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) gives parties options besides litigation for settling many areas of dispute, ranging from, but not limited to, general civil, divorce, family law, personal injury, real estate, contract, debt collection, employment labor discrimination, construction and divorce. Arbitration and mediation are examples of ADR.
Mediation enables parties to consider a greater variety of factors in order to craft more flexible, satisfactory solutions. Mediation can be initiated either through a court order, lawyer recommendation or private arrangement.
Since mediations are conducted in a less formal setting than a courtroom, issues can be resolved more quickly and less expensively. Often, mediations can be held outside of standard business hours rather than confining to or relying on court dates. The forum is often less formal than a courtroom, such as a conference room or lawyer’s office. Sessions can be conducted in person or via online conference. The discussions in and agreements of these meetings are private and confidential.
A mediator is a neutral entity trained to help disputing parties explore creative options to reconcile their issues. Mediators must follow a code of conduct, similar to attorneys, with respect to conflicts of interest, confidentiality and non-disclosure.
Participants in a mediation often include the disputing parties and their legal representatives. Expert witnesses can participate on an as-needed basis, with the agreement of all parties.
A mediation is considered completed when the parties sign an agreement. If an agreement is not reached during mediation, parties still can pursue their dispute through the courts.