Questions Frequently Asked About Mediation
I am James J. Doyle, III. At my law firm, The DOYLE LAW Firm in Dallas, I provide my clients with clarification about the process of mediation in Texas. I also offer legal services as a mediator for select cases. With two decades of experience in mediation, I have answered many questions about this type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Here are brief answers to questions frequently asked about mediation.
Can I just settle this now, pay the other party and stop paying my attorney?
The answer depends on many factors and if you enter into mediation. A successful mediation may be priceless in the long run. Mediation is often an expense that is worth the risk and almost always worthy of consideration, particularly at the beginning of a conflict. Mediation is a time to put the bullets down in order to try and find a solution that works for everyone. If there were no financial or emotional costs to litigation, mediation might not be such a sought-after option.
How do I know mediation is what I need?
Mediation is typically a confidential process in order to promote honesty and the exchange of true facts in the hope that this can more effectively lead to dispute resolution. Voluntary mediation is one of several forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation can be an effective method for resolving conflict. Two or more parties agree to meet outside of the courtroom using the services of a neutral mediator. The mediator helps disputing parties reach an agreement by facilitating discussion about the rights, legal needs and interests of the parties. The mediator answers their questions to probable outcomes rather than actually representing or advising the individual parties. The mediator attempts to stop the fighting and promote a reasonable compromise so the parties can move forward focusing on more positive things than antagonistic conflict.
A civil court may order mediation, but parties may agree to mediate ahead of time through a prior agreement. A clause in a contract may say the parties must mediate before filing a lawsuit or prior to an impending lawsuit in an attempt to reach an agreement prior to the expense and cost of litigation.
Will the court order mediation for my case?
Most courts in Dallas County order their cases to mediation prior to trial. If a court orders mediation, you must use a mediator. However, certain courts in other counties do not order mediation for their cases as a matter of course, although such courts may order mediation if they determine that such is necessary in a particular case.
What are the advantages of mediation?
Mediation may resolve your legal dispute in less time and for less money than going through the court’s traditional court system. You will engage in open and honest communication about your claims, defenses and related facts. Your proceedings and terms of your settlement agreement are confidential, with few rare exceptions. If both parties agree to the terms of your agreement, it can be legally binding and enforceable.
Will I need an attorney to represent me at mediation?
Unless you are representing yourself, if a court orders mediation, the attorneys have to attend the sessions. If mediation is done apart from a court order, your attorney does not have to be at your side, but it is advisable.
How will I pay for mediation?
Typically, a court order requires the parties to split the mediator’s fees equally. If the parties agree to mediation, costs are divided as agreed. The total mediator fee will vary, depending on the mediator and the nature of disputes subject to resolution.
The court may order one party to pay for mediation or a disproportionate division of the cost. If the parties have attorneys, they will also have to pay their counsel for their time preparing and attending mediation. The costs of formal mediation can be significant, but the benefits of a successful mediation may be priceless.
Is the outcome of mediation ‘binding?’
The term “binding” is typically used in relation to arbitration, and not mediation. If mediation occurs, it is usually required or advisable that every party come with an open mind and make a good faith effort to honor the mediation process with a sincere attempt to settle the case. Settlement is not required, and unsuccessful mediations are probably as common as successful ones.
Can you act as a mediator for my dispute?
I can surely perform informal mediations for my clients and have experience doing so. Though I am not an experienced mediator in the traditional sense, I would be willing to mediate if asked and if the subject matter of the dispute is something I feel comfortable with. Let’s talk. Call me at 214-522-6202.