These days, more and more non-criminal cases are avoiding the court system by settling through alternative dispute resolution. In fact, while in 1962 some 11.5% of federal civil cases went to trial, only about 1% actually make it to court today. Mediation is one form of dispute resolution that has proven to be successful.
Here are four tips to ensure success in any mediation process.
In order for mediation to be effective, all of the essential personnel must be involved. That means that decision makers need to be present. Who is considered a decision maker? When the dispute is between two individuals, each party is themselves a decision maker. When one or both parties is a business or organization, the decision makers are people who have the power to accept an offer of resolution. Being involved doesn?t just mean showing up. You need to be actively involved in the mediation process, voicing opinions and expressing concerns. In addition to the disputing parties, another essential person is the effective neutral mediator who facilitates the process. Make sure you hire an experienced mediator to perform the mediation services.
Bring important documents
Certain documents can be invaluable to working through a dispute. For instance, if the lawsuit is between an insurance company and a policy holder, it is essential to have the insurance paperwork present during mediation. Bring any relevant documents that can provide evidence in your favor.
Focus on compromise
Although it may be difficult, try not to focus on who is right and who is wrong in this situation. Instead, focus on coming up with a resolution that works for both parties. The goal of mediation is not to fight and win, it is to find a solution to a dispute. You are ultimately working towards striking a deal, which may include putting forth a lot of effort and compromising on many things.
Don?t be disrespectful
Mediation doesn?t work unless you come to an agreement, and no one wants to make a deal with someone who has insulted or offended them. Respect is key to conflict resolution. This doesn?t mean that you have to form a close or even friendly bond. Rather, it means that being disrespectful is counterproductive to the mediation process.
Mediation is typically considered to be an effective alternative to litigation, especially if both parties can come to a mutual agreement on their own terms instead of handing over control to a judge. For more information on alternative dispute resolution, talk with your attorney about your other options for settling complex commercial disputes.