Mediation refers to dispute resolution by agreement, with the help of a neutral go-between. It does not include arbitration or trial, where an arbitrator, judge, or jury hears the facts and legal arguments to decide who prevails in a case.
There are various styles of mediation. Which is most appropriate depends on the needs and wants of the parties, the nature of the conflict, and the posture of the case – such as whether a lawsuit has begun yet or not.
The Mediation Spectrum
Most commonly used where a case has already been filed in court, evaluative mediation involves analysis of the conflict. I steer the parties to resolution by considering the facts and legal arguments disclosed by each side and discussing my perceptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the case. This helps attorneys and clients to “handicap” their case; that is, to determine the range of possible results at trial and make a cost/benefit calculation as to its settlement value.
I will help you get a realistic perspective of the potential risks and rewards of continuing litigation – drawing upon my 27 years of trial practice – in order to reach an agreement that you can accept.
While facilitation skills are essential to all forms of mediation, this style is less concerned with legal arguments or the positions taken by each side. In facilitative mediation, I help probe underlying interests and areas of possible agreement. This method is well-suited for disputes that have not been filed in court, or where there is an on-going relationship that needs to be preserved.
Facilitation works best where the parties are ready to negotiate their differences before simply squaring off. When negotiation has reached an impasse –but not a dead-end– I help the parties communicate in new ways so that each can feel heard and have their concerns acknowledged. As a trained neutral I am able to bridge deep divides to get to creative solutions, so parties can move on with their lives.
Sometimes known as conscious conflict resolution, transformative mediation is for people who see disputes as a growth opportunities. Increasing attention to mindfulness in our society encourages introspection and awareness of one’s own part in the dance of human dynamics.
In transformative mediation, I guide the parties, through compassionate communication, to examine unstated assumptions, expectations, and projections. By acknowledging each other’s wants, needs, beliefs and judgments, the parties reach understanding and completion, which leads to agreed solutions that also promote self-awareness and opportunities for change.