The mediator assists the parties in reaching a voluntary, mutually acceptable settlement of the dispute. The result is usually a written agreement (memorandum of understanding) that has the force of law, and is often signed by both parties. It is usually less expensive and faster than a trial. It helps preserve important relationships (business and personal) that would otherwise likely be destroyed through years of litigation. It promotes cooperation, a problem-solving approach to conflict and improves communication. It is confidential and private, unlike a trial, which is public and exposes sensitive business or financial information.
When choosing a mediator, it is advisable to ask the person for references from people who have used their services. Also, talk to friends and colleagues who have been through mediation to get their perspectives on the process. For example, you may want to know if they liked the mediator’s bluntness or the way that the mediator kept the proceedings on track.
Some states require that mediators go through classroom training, co-mediate cases with a mentor and be observed and critiqued by experienced mediators. They must then be certified to mediate court referred cases and re-certified every two years by demonstrating that they have participated in continuing mediator education and mediated a minimum of a certain number of cases.
Parties to a dispute and their attorneys, if represented; support people (including children) who are involved in the case; interpreters (if needed); and support people who speak other languages. mediation services