Hi, this is my first time using lawguru. I'm interested in trying a mediator to avoid going to court. What can mediators do and not do? This is for a business dispute where I was an employer / contractor for a small business where I was mistreated.
1 Answer from Attorneys
A mediator's power and weakness is that all they can do is help people reach an agreement between themselves. Since the mediator can't issue any kind of binding decision, and mediation is totally confidential, the parties are free to engage openly with the mediator in ways they cannot in adversarial proceedings. A good mediator then uses the information to guide the parties to a solution or settlement instead of a ruling or judgment. Because the mediator is neutral, each side is often more open to hearing things the mediator says, than they would be if the person on the other side said the same thing. So mediators can facilitate communication where communication has broken down. Lastly, mediators in legal cases can provide some neutral objective evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of each side which often helps both sides get a more realistic view of their positions, which often helps reach a settlement.