At present all of our mediations are conducted on Zoom. Although our decision to conduct mediations virtually was a response to the pandemic, we have found online mediation to be efficient, convenient, and effective. Accordingly, we intend to continue to offer online mediation services even after the pandemic. Online sessions are offered at a thirty percent discount from the cost of an in-person session. We anticipate being able to offer in-person mediations at some point late in the calendar year 2021. Our in-person mediations will be offered at conference facilities throughout New York and New Jersey.
Mediation is both simple and sophisticated. The first steps, of course, are agreeing to mediate and choosing the mediator. Mediation is very much driven by the disputing parties. There is no one correct way of running a mediation. Disputing parties may be represented by counsel at the mediation or they may not be. What happens next depends upon the type of mediation, the preference of the parties and the style of the mediator. Typically, there will be some initial housekeeping matters such as setting the agenda, signing the mediation agreement and the like.
The mediator will typically give an opening statement in which he or she discusses various basic matters relating to how the mediation will be conducted, confidentiality, conduct at the mediation etc. This is called the opening statement. The mediator may then meet separately with the parties or with both of the parties jointly and use their training to understand the issues in dispute, the relevant facts, and to facilitate discussions of options and alternatives for settlement. In some circumstances, there will be a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s position statement.
The mediator, at his or her discretion, will alternate between meeting the parties together or separately. The mediator will encourage identification of interests, and mutual understanding of the partie’s respective positions. In a complex mediation, such as a family or divorce mediation which involves numerous issues, this process may continue over a number of sessions until each issue is resolved. At the conclusion of the mediation, depending upon the nature of the dispute, the parties are well-advised to reduce their settlement to a written memorandum of understanding or agreement.
Most mediators charge a fee based on the amount of time that they spend. The fees vary widely by region, the experience and expertise of the mediator, and the type of matter being mediated. In addition to an hourly rate, many mediators will charge an administrative fee or case fee to cover preparation time and administrative time setting up the mediation. Lex Mediation provides a very straightforward billing model for all matters we handle. We do not charge any administrative or setup fees and offer straightforward packages that include prep time as well as reasonable hourly rates for additional sessions. Call us at 201-252-7000 for a comprehensive guide to pricing.
Although empirical evidence indicates that mediation is remarkably effective at assisting disputing parties in resolving disputes, there are instances in which a settlement is not reached. Even if mediation does not immediately result in a settlement, the mediation was not necessarily a failure. Often, parties will report that issues were narrowed during the mediation, and the parties may later have further mediation sessions or direct discussions that result in a resolution. In those instances where the matter is not resolved, the parties are free to continue to pursue litigation or such other remedies as may be available.
Arbitration and mediation are extremely different. In an arbitration, the arbitrator, or panel of arbitrators, renders an award that is enforceable. While it may be appealable under certain very limited circumstances, the award is binding on the parties whether or not they agree with it. In mediation, the disputing parties craft their own resolution with the help of an impartial mediator. Unless all disputing parties agree, there is no resolution.
Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution in which the parties agree that an individual arbitrator, or a panel of arbitrators, can make a binding decision about the dispute after evaluating all evidence and arguments.
Mediation is a type of dispute resolution in which a neutral third party facilitates discussions in the hope of resolving the dispute. It is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world and is proving to be an extremely effective form of dispute resolution. Typically, a trained mediator will create the process together with the parties to address all of the parties issues and give the parties an opportunity to craft a resolution.