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The Process

Your dispute deserves the chance for a resolution by mediation

Whether you have an employment dispute, a contract disagreement, a construction problem, an intellectual property concern, a personal injury, or a family matter, working together we can resolve your conflict quickly, thoughtfully and economically and allow you to move forward to a better future. Even if all matters cannot be resolved through mediation, finding areas of agreement benefits everyone by reducing the issues to be litigated.

There are three essential things I ask you to bring to the mediation:

  1. The honesty to be truthful to yourself and the other side about your needs and interests;
  2. An open mind when considering the other side’s perspective during the negotiation; and
  3. A willingness to have conversations with the other side, brainstorm solutions and collaborate on a solution that will address everyone’s needs and concerns.

If you are ready to do the work, the rewards of a successful mediation are huge.

Prior to the mediation, the Mediator will provide the parties with a preparation guide to help them determine the materials necessary for the mediation. Confidential mediation briefs, if desired, should be provided to the Mediator at least three days before the scheduled mediation.

The mediation session will begin in a joint meeting with the Mediator and all the parties, their attorneys and in some cases, insurance company representatives. It is important that persons with authority to settle attend the mediation.

The Mediator will explain the format and discuss the confidential and non-binding nature of the proceedings. All who attend the mediation will be required to sign a stipulation to confidentiality.

The Mediator will then ask the attorneys for each party, or if the party is not represented, the party themselves, to make a presentation of their case and identify the issues in dispute. Each side has the opportunity to speak and be heard by the other side and hear the other side's perspective of the dispute.

Following the joint meeting, the mediator will usually separate the parties and begin meeting with them in a series of private, confidential meetings called "caucuses".

In these caucuses, the Mediator works with each of the parties to analyze their case and develop options for settlement. Normally, the Mediator will caucus numerous times with both sides on identified issues and may bring the parties back together for discussion several times until agreements are reached.

At one of these joint sessions the Mediator may introduce a process called brainstorming. This is when the mediator brings the parties together to generate creative solutions to resolve the conflict through an open discussion in which everyone is encouraged to suggest as many ideas as possible. Once all ideas are on the table, the parties can begin to evaluate the options and develop the best solution.

When an agreement is reached, the Mediator will help the parties and their attorneys formalize it in writing if they wish and the mediation is concluded.

The parties are encouraged at all times to consult with and to seek the advice of legal counsel before, during and after all mediation sessions, and particularly prior to signing any legally binding agreement reached through mediation.

Request more info

Or give me a call at (310) 882-1853

What people are saying:

"We were very pleased to be able to mediate with Kathryn Marshall. When the negotiations seemed they were at a stalemate, she was able to identify several creative alternatives we then used to balance the settlement terms and got the job done."

C.R. - Business

"Thank you, Kathryn Marshall. I appreciated all the preliminary work and follow-up Kathryn provided that brought a difficult situation to such a successful conclusion."

M.R. - Personal Injury

Request more info

Or give me a call at (310) 882-1853

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why does mediation matter to me?

Traditional litigation is a mistake that must be corrected… Our system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for really civilized people.
- Chief Justice Warren Burger United States Supreme Court (Ret.)

Our American justice system is intentionally designed to be an adversarial process where parties take opposing sides in a dispute, usually represented by lawyers who zealously advocate for their respective client's positions. This process is governed and restricted by laws and, because the court is a communal stage which must be shared with many other disputants, parties who choose litigation find themselves further constrained by the court's limited time and attention.

Parties to lawsuits often do not understand the adversarial process or what is actually involved in going through trial. Their legal educations come with a very high price tag which the parties often do not fully appreciate until they have experienced the financial and emotional costs of depositions, written discovery, experts, and countless motions. They come to realize that the trial has not even begun and they must face a long, expensive and uncertain road still ahead.

What can mediation do for me?

A Pause Button Mediation is a voluntary process that functions like a pause button for parties engaged in litigation, or parties contemplating a lawsuit. Mediation brings the parties together in a safe and private setting to work with an unbiased neutral, called a mediator, who will assist the parties in exploring all options for a resolution to their conflict.

When should I mediate?

Sooner than later: Mediation can occur anytime before or after litigation has begun, however, the best timing for mediation is as early in the dispute as possible, ideally even before a case is actually filed or as soon after the parties and their attorneys have all of the factual and legal issues. It is preferable to mediate before the parties have expended substantial resources on expensive motions, discovery and depositions.

Who is in control?

Parties Control the Outcome The parties themselves stay in control of the outcome. The Mediator does not render a decision and has no power to force the parties to settle their claims. Rather than determining who is right and who is wrong, the Mediator’s job is to understand the respective parties’ positions and see where they have common ground and the potential for compromise. This helps all concerned to focus on interests and solutions rather than adversarial positions and legal arguments.

Can a mediator be called to testify in court?

Private and Confidential Unlike litigation, which is a very public forum held in an open court with records available to anyone, mediation is confidential. Everything that is discussed during the mediation, and any documents prepared especially for the mediation cannot be used by any party outside of the mediation process, or in any portion of the litigation or trial. Mediators are prohibited from disclosing anything that goes on during the mediation, and the parties themselves sign confidentiality agreements to ensure each party's interests are protected throughout the process. This allows the parties to freely explore solutions that can address their individual interests. Parties can consider more meaningful and satisfying resolutions tailored to their specific needs that are not limited by what the judge or jury can decide.

What does it cost?

Economical and certain Mediation is also economical and takes very little time when compared with litigation. The length of the mediation depends on the number of parties, the complexity of the issues, and how well prepared the parties and their attorneys are to commit to the process. Mediations typically last from three to eight hours while some complex cases, with many issues, may require more than one session to reach a resolution on each issue.

The time and cost spent in mediation is a tiny fraction of the cost necessary to pursue a case through trial where even one pre-trial motion may cost more than the entire mediation. Mediation carries far less risk than trial and provides certainty to the parties that they will make their own decisions without the delay, cost or interference of a judge or jury.

What if we can’t reach a full agreement?

A good mediator will have a significant amount of litigation experience and will help the parties realistically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their case. The odds are excellent that your case will settle in mediation. 90% of mediated cases result in a full settlement of the parties' issues. For the small percentage of cases that do not settle completely, even a partial settlement of issues accomplished through mediation is a significant benefit to the parties by narrowing down the issues to be litigated.

The reality is, less than 5% of litigated cases will go through an actual trial. It simply makes no sense for the parties to squander their assets in anticipation of having their day in court, only to settle on the court house steps after all the money, time and aggravation has been spent. Statistics show that the parties who determine the outcome themselves in mediation while preserving the assets of both sides are the most satisfied with their final settlement and is why a successful mediation is often referred to as a "win/win" for both parties.