- The goal of mediation is to attempt to settle the case on terms that are acceptable to all parties.
- The mediator will informally discuss the case with the lawyer and client, ask questions and, very often, express opinions about the merits of the case. Many times, the parties are in separate rooms and the mediator will “caucus” or go back and forth between the rooms.
- The mediator serves in a neutral capacity, does not make decisions about the case, and does not declare a winner or loser.
- Offers of settlement made in the course of mediation are confidential and cannot be used as evidence if the case goes to a trial/hearing. The mediator cannot generally be called as a witness.
- If a settlement is reached, it is not binding legally unless each party signs a document that recites the terms of the settlement. If this occurs, the agreement is considered binding in most circumstances.
- Mediators may or may not be attorneys. They generally charge $150 – $250 per hour, and that cost is typically split equally between the parties.
- Most local courts require parties to engage in mediation prior to having a judge decide the case.
- The two main benefits of resolving cases at mediation are: 1) that the parties are in control of the outcome (versus putting the case in the judge’s hands); and 2) litigation costs are not incurred (which usually far exceed the cost of mediation).
Adapted from Preparing Clients for Mediation, by Russell Carparelli, Colorado Lawyer, January 2018.