Karl Kime Explains How Legal Mediation Works
Sep 28, 2021 02:17 PM EDT
Mediation is an important legal subspecialty that deals with solving disputes out of court, providing the best possible solution to the issues presented by the clients. Mediation is often used in child custody, family, divorce, commercial, and workplace disputes. Tenants and landlords also use it.
Karl Kime, an experienced mediator, explains how mediation works and how it differs between law areas.
Central Concepts of Mediation
Using mediation, two or more parties can resolve their disputes informally by using a neutral third person called the mediator to avoid going to court. Most mediators are trained in conflict resolution, though their experience and the cost of their services can vary a great deal. It is incumbent upon clients to do their homework when choosing the right mediator for the job.
The mediator's role is to help the parties resolve their problem by encouraging the airing of disputes and negotiating how these disputes might be resolved. The mediator has no legal authority over the case, so carrying out the results of mediation falls on the clients. Mediators encourage the disputing parties to accept that they may receive less than they expected in the settlement. Finally, everyone comes to a satisfactory solution.
Mediation is an economical solution, costing far less than a lawsuit or court case. It is often recommended in cases where the two parties can resolve their issues without resorting to civil or criminal law.
The Mediation Process
Karl Kime goes over each step of the mediation process, explaining how the mediator and the clients handle their various responsibilities.
1. The Planning Stage
Before beginning the mediation process, the mediator assists the parties in deciding where they will meet and who should be there. Each side may have attorneys, co-workers, or family members, depending on the circumstances of the case. Three-person teams from each side meet together at the mediator's office.
2. The Mediator's Introduction
The mediator introduces the two sides, and their members outline the mediation process and provide the ground rules. The goal of mediation is to help both parties come to a negotiated agreement and resolve the dispute in a manner agreeable to both sides.
3. Opening Remarks
After the mediator has introduced themselves, both sides will have the opportunity to present their view of the problem without interruption. They can describe the issues they are having with the other party. They are also allowed to vent their thoughts and feelings at this time.
4. Joint Discussion
After each party has had the chance to present its side of the story, the mediator and the two parties may ask each other questions to understand the complete picture.
Disputing sides frequently have trouble listening to each other. The mediator acts as a translator between the two sides. If the disputants cannot proceed, the mediator examines the case to find the obstacles preventing a resolution. They try to get the discussion back on track so that it can be resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.
When emotions are running high, the mediator may decide to meet with each side separately. Generally, this information is kept confidential by the mediator. With the promise of confidentiality, the parties are more likely to reveal their real reasons why they feel the way they do about the issue. This can help the mediator guide the resolution.
Now, it is time to formulate proposals that satisfy each party's requirements. Experienced mediators are well-versed in the process of going back and forth between both parties and helping them arrive at the best conclusion for their needs. After exploring the problem in so much detail, the mediator can see both sides of the issue and help the parties resolve it.
In accordance with the complexity of the problem, mediation may only take a few hours. It could also take days, weeks, or months. Some resolutions are fully acceptable to both parties, while others put both parties at a minimal advantage. Even a less than perfect solution is better than going to court.
If the parties agree, the mediator outlines the terms and writes a draft agreement. If a satisfactory decision is not made, the mediator will summarize the negotiations and may present the options for another type of dispute resolution.
Mediators and Different Areas of the Law
Different types of mediation are used in other areas of the law. Traditional mediation, or facilitative mediation, is often used in family law cases and non-complicated business cases. Court-mandated mediation may happen when the judge wants the parties to resolve their problems quickly and cost-efficiently.
Evaluative mediation involves assisting the parties by pointing out the weaknesses of their cases and offering predictions as to what a judge or jury might do when presented with their issues. These mediators are concerned more with the legal rights of each party than with their needs and interests. Evaluative mediation is often used in civil litigation.
When two or more parties have a legal issue that they cannot resolve independently and when they prefer not to go to trial, they can hire a mediator, mediators are well-versed in resolving disputes in many areas of the law. Karl Kime, like other mediators, believes strongly in the power of mediation to reduce legal costs and provide a fair and speedy resolution.