What is Mediation?
What is mediation and when would you use a mediator? Mediation occurs when two disputing parties decide to use an impartial, non-plaintiff, non-defendant, trained legal mediator (a “neutral”) to settle their legal differences outside of a courtroom.
Mediation is used when you try and resolve an issue using a neutral third party. The benefit to both sides is that a trained mediator works impartially to try and help the parties resolve legal and other problems. Legal issues can be settled amicably through decisions and options presented during the mediation process.
Bloodworth Law, PLLC, partner Alyson M. Laderman is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit and County Florida mediator and since 2009 has resolved hundreds of business disputes.
“Anybody can hire a mediator at any time. You do not have to be in a lawsuit to seek the assistance of a mediator,” Alyson said. “In mediation, mediators are a neutral third party — they do not represent any of the parties and have no outside knowledge of the issue before them. We are there to listen and to help the parties try to resolve their differences — whether it is business related or relationship-based disagreements. We’re paid by the hour and oftentimes the fee is split equally by both sides.
“I’m able to come to the table with a different perspective because I’ve seen disputes from all sides, having participated in mediation both as an attorney (for plaintiffs and defendants) and as a mediator.”
The difference between a mediator and a lawyer is that a lawyer is an advocate and a mediator is neutral.
A lawyer is a hired gun who represents your position and your position only.
A mediator is a neutral who knows nothing about the cases. A mediator listens to both sides or all sides depending on how many parties are involved and how many different perspectives show there are.
A mediator helps all parties try to resolve some, all, or none of the issues.
Most people don’t understand that mediation is always an option vs. hiring an attorney. And often it can be the cheapest option because you do not need a lawyer or have to go to court to go to mediation.
You bring in somebody – a mediator — who doesn’t know anything about the situation. Each side tells their positions and then, in a safe confidential environment, we go through the options. We go through the issues and see what can be resolved.
Locations include conference rooms in neutral, quiet locations such as hotels, conference centers, office buildings, and the courthouse.
You do not need to be in litigation to go to mediation. You can mediate any legal issue at any time — with or without a lawyer. You do not need a lawyer to go to mediation. Two people, three people, or five people, however many are in the dispute, can hire a mediator to help them with their issues.
Attorney Alyson M. Laderman is a certified mediator through the Supreme Court of Florida for County and Civil matters. Alyson handle cases above $15,000 through whatever the value of the case.
Mediation can happen anytime for any kind of legal dispute. It can be an employment dispute between you and one of your employees. It can be business partners. Shareholders and partners. It can be a business and a vendor. A vendor and a supplier.
The idea is that you see something’s going sideways legally. But, you want to nip it in the bud and reach a settlement agreement. And if you do reach that settlement agreement, that becomes a new and binding contract from which you can move forward.
Mediation is a really underutilized opportunity for businesses. Businesses may want to consider using mediation because by the time you get to litigation, tempers are on fire, and people are more stoked.
What’s the difference and should you choose mediation vs. litigation? In litigation, everyone digs in a little bit more because you’ve now spent the money. You’ve hired the lawyers. Everybody’s there to fight.
Mediation’s really meant to come in and resolve. End the fighting and end the bleeding before it gets too far. Many times mediation does happen in the midst of litigation. Courts will order parties to mediation. But mediation can happen at any point.
Alyson volunteers every month for the Orange County Courthouse as a pro bono mediator. Once a month she spends an entire morning mediating approximately seven cases.
Mediation gives you that opportunity to say, ‘well what can you do? What are you able to do? What do you want to do?’ And it puts the power in the party’s hands. That’s the difference.
When you go to a court, you go to a judge or a jury. You’re saying, “tell me legally who’s right and who’s wrong under the law?” You have no say in the outcome.
At mediation it’s not a matter of right or wrong, it’s about what can you do? What do you want to do? And you keep that control as the party and you ultimately make the choice.
You make the decision as to what goes on and happens next in your life, in your job, in your business, and in whatever decision is sitting there before you.
If Bloodworth Law is litigating a case, Bloodworth Law cannot act as the mediator on that case because we are already the attorneys and the advocate and a position has been taken.
A mediation can run from one hour to eight hours or more depending on how large a case is.
Clients pay attorney fees after a case is completed and when it pays out.
Contingency fee means that the client pays legal fees when the lawyer and case brings in money from the legal actions taken. Reed immediately begins work on the case to pursue a legal action that will yield financial results. Clients meanwhile are not billed, have to write a check, or pay by credit card to get a case moving. Every case is reviewed and there is no guarantee that it will qualify or be accepted as a contingency fee case but you should find out through talking with Reed.
Contingency fee cases are available for business litigation, and for trust and estate litigation cases.