Mediation involves the joint effort of parties on both (or all) sides of a legal dispute coming together to reach a resolution that each party can live with.
BENEFITS OF MEDIATION
There are many reasons why you may choose mediation over traditional litigation. Here are a few of the benefits:
- Lighter strain on your wallet, since disputes may be resolved before some large expenses become necessary. Most noteworthy among these benefits is the fact that mediation isn’t so hard on your finances.
- Timely resolution. Unlike most litigation processes, which can last 1-3 years (or longer), mediation usually takes place over a much shorter amount of time. This can be beneficial for all parties involved.
- Private sessions. You can't underestimate the value of privacy during the legal process, especially when emotions can get hard to keep in check, or when sensitive data or events are involved.
- Confidentiality. Privacy contributes directly to this benefit, but also know that each party is required to maintain confidentiality.
- Participation in dispute resolution. The sense of autonomy in determining your own resolution can be priceless.
- Preservation of relationships. As with the lighter financial strain and lower amount of stress due to a shorter legal process, mediation also usually allows for a higher chance of keeping relationships civil and improves the likelihood that parties can deal with each other more successfully in the future.
Mediation is often my favorite part of the job because it involves sitting down with people who are understandably fully focused on their problems/challenges, and then coming up with creative fixes to problems that, in the past, you might have thought were impossible — all while developing a safe environment and a beneficial relationship. Since I'm a trained mediation neutral and have been involved in mediations for some 30 years, I've got the background, training, experience, and skills to maximize the likelihood of an agreeable settlement.
Many mediators have prior litigation experience, but not over thirty years’ worth!
And many mediators have experience representing either plaintiffs (the parties bringing the claims), or representing defendants (the persons or companies being sued) and their insurance carriers. But I have done both:
- I began my career in January of 1985, working for a large and very respected defense firm, defending companies, and their insurers, from serious and complex cases. So I know how those parties work, what their schedules and expectations are, and what the pressures and expectations are.
- Then, I left that firm to open the Houston office of a New Orleans-based maritime defense firm. Similar issues and clients, but as office founder and managing partner, I saw first-hand how the “business” of a law practice works, and what the pressures are there.
- To date, I have over 17 years working as a defense lawyer. So I know that side of the case, and how it works!
- Then, in the spring of 2002, I decided to begin representing the injured crewmembers and others whose claims I previously defended. And I learned quickly that they are not “a case” or “a file”, but very real people, with very real, and personal, challenges. Challenges which kept them up at night. Challenges that created worry and uncertainty for their families. Financial worries. Strain on family relationships. Worry about ever returning to work.
- So, to date I have over 16 years working as a plaintiff’s lawyer. As a result, I know that side of the case, and how it works, too!
That makes me uniquely suited, as a mediator, to address both sides of the dispute, with understanding and fairness. Because I too have “been there.”