Mediation is the process through which the parties resolve their dispute. Unlike adjudicative approaches, such as litigation and arbitration, mediation does not depend on having someone outside the conflict (the judge or arbitrator) impose a solution. Rather, a professional neutral –the mediator–works with the parties, listening to the stories on each side and helping each side not only tell their story but to listen to the other’s.
The mediator provides a safe space within which the parties can feel free to express not only their positions, but the underlying interests that drive those positions. Often, mediation requires all parties in a dispute to make concessions in order to reach an agreement, and the payoff is that once they reach that agreement, the parties are more than twice as likely to follow the agreement as they are in the case of an adjudicated outcome.
Mediation is significantly faster and more efficient than the adjudicative approaches, usually less costly, and parties to a mediation are usually more satisfied with the outcome than are those who engage in litigation or arbitration. Unlike adjudicative approaches, mediation does not guarantee a resolution; it is voluntary, and, for that reason, less intimidating that the other approaches.
Finally, unlike adjudicative approaches, which tend to destroy relationships, mediation can restore relationships. For this reason, it is especially appropriate where the parties need to live together or work together in the future. Mediation is most commonly used in family cases for this reason, but is also applicable to business disputes (e.g., between companies and their suppliers) and neighborhood matters.
River Bridge Resolutions, LLC, has years of experience in mediating a wide range of issues, and encourages you to consider mediation as your first choice for dispute resolution.