Mediation is a process in which a neutral third-party assists other parties in resolving a disagreement. A mediator is a trained professional who facilitates discussion and dialog by listening to the parties, understanding their needs, and helping them to negotiate a solution. A mediator does not have the power or authority to decide the outcome of the dispute. However, if an agreement is reached in mediation, and if it is reduced to writing and signed by the parties, it can be binding upon the parties if the court approves the agreement.
Many courts now require mediation of disputes. Mediation places the power of the outcome in the hands of the parties rather than in the hands of the judge. This is important because judges are bound by strict court rules, are only presented with limited evidence upon which they must base their decision, have little time to truly understand a case or the dynamics of the parties, and are typically overburdened with enormous caseloads.
Mediation is a highly effective process to resolve disputes. It is substantially less time-consuming and less expensive than going to court. Mediation is also private and confidential. With sufficient time, a mediator can understand the issues by having direct contact with the parties, discussing the issues, and helping reach an agreement acceptable to both sides.
Gary B. Pulitzer has represented hundreds of clients in successful mediations, and now offers his services as a mediator after having completed extensive mediation training.