The Basics of Mediation

Kevin S. Smith

Author: Kevin S. Smith

POST DATE: 4.5.22
Ccha  Mediation

The economic and administrative costs associated with civil litigation are significant. Depending on the type of case and issues involved, litigants on each side can often spend $50,000 - $250,000 in attorney costs and fees alone, with this figure reaching into the millions in complex commercial cases. Further, civil litigation can last years and take a significant toll on the parties emotionally and administratively, requiring them to spend scores of hours addressing written discovery, attending and submitted to depositions, preparing for and participating in trial, etc., each time taking their focus and attention back into the conflict and away from present things needing their time and attention.

Mediation can often be an effective tool to blunt the negative costs and effects of civil litigation, allowing the parties to resolve their disputes in a much faster, less expensive manner and in a way that allows them, rather than a court, to be in control of the outcome.

CCHA the basics of mediation blog

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process by which disputing parties negotiate a resolution to their conflict with the assistance of a trained and skilled mediator. Thus, in a sense it is guided negotiation. The parties, and their legal counsel if they are represented, meet at an agreed-upon location (typically the mediator’s office, or via a telecommunication platform such as Zoom if they cannot meet in person), and the mediator then leads them through a process of identifying the issues, discussing key interests, and working toward areas of common ground and agreed-upon concessions that can form the basis of a written agreement that both parties can live with that resolves their dispute and ends the litigation.

What are the Benefits of Mediation?

There are several benefits to mediation, including the following:

  • Reducing Financial, Administrative, and Emotional Costs. When utilized early in litigation, a successful mediation ends the litigation and thus ends any further accumulation of attorneys fees and costs. Further, it prevents the parties from having to be embroiled in their conflict for many months or even years, allowing them to get on with their lives and businesses without having to focus any more time, attention, and energy to the conflict.
  • Voluntariness. Any party can withdraw from the mediation at any time if a resolution cannot be reached, leaving the parties no worse off then before they attempted the mediation, other than the mediator’s modest fee and the cost of the parties’ attorneys to participate in it.
  • Control and Greater Flexibility Over the Result. In litigation or arbitration, the result is in the hands of a judge/jury or arbitrator and is often “all or nothing.” Mediation allows the parties, rather than an outside “neutral,” to retain control of the outcome and find a middle ground that allows each side to walk away with something rather than having a “winner” and a “loser.” Further, mediation gives the parties greater flexibility to “think outside the box” and craft a resolution that takes into account terms or conditions far beyond what a judge or arbitrator would legally be permitted to choose.
  • Confidentiality. Unlike the public court proceedings, everything said at the mediation is entirely confidential to the parties (unless they agree otherwise), and nothing said at a mediation can be used as evidence later at trial if the mediation is unsuccessful.
  • Preservation of Relationships. Whether the dispute is between individuals or businesses, litigation tends to tear relationships apart. Mediation helps participants focus on effectively communicating with each other as opposed to attacking each other, and allows them to work together toward an agreeable result rather than fighting against each other for a result that is out of their hands.

Contact CCHA, Who is Here to Help

Several of CCHA’s attorneys are registered civil or family law mediators with the State of Indiana. Utilizing their years of experience as litigators in their respective fields, these attorney/mediators help parties in conflict find resolutions to their disputes, often for a cost lower than other Central Indiana mediators charge and without the necessity of travel to downtown Indianapolis. Contact us today to talk about whether mediation with CCHA may be right for you.