Mediation can curtail judicial and arbitration frustrations: protracted delays, unreasonable adversaries, inflexible Judges, burdened court calendars, escalating costs, the unpredictability of juries, matters spiraling “out of control”, and the emotional stresses inherent in a heightened adversarial process.
What makes a good mediator?
- Mediation Expertise: Mediation is a complex discipline requiring training, commitment and experience. Honed mediation skills and tools are fundamentally different from adversarial or judicial experience.
- People Skills/Psychology: Ms Dickey is expertly equipped to handle heightened emotions and power-struggles, which can otherwise derail negotiations. Ms Dickey gains the trust of parties and counsel through intellect and genuine compassion. She can identify and break down psychological barriers.
- Analytical Skills: Ms Dickey offers a quasi-judicial reality check- analyzing the strengths and risks of legal positions and business realities. This neutral and confidential perspective can break down resolution barriers.
- Leadership Skills: Control of the mediation environment is essential, particularly in complex multi-party matters.
- Legal & Business Experience: Ms Dickey’s legal, business, and civic backgrounds are invaluable to understanding legal and business practicalities.
What advantages are specific to mediation?
- Party Control and Client Satisfaction: Parties and counsel have direct input into discovery exchange, scheduling, and terms of settlement. Parties avoid the risk of an unpredictable jury, judge, or arbitrator. The inherent “buy-in” generates solutions that parties will respect.
- Cost and Time Efficiency: Mediators can facilitate discovery exchanges to minimize business interruption and avoid protracted delays.
- Customization of Process: Each mediation process is uniquely tailored for optimal results.
- Creative Win-Win Solutions: Identifying underlying interests and discernment of future consequences result in resolution options unavailable in court; the proverbial “pie” can be expanded for a Win-Win solution.
Why is “Accreditation” Important?
Persons with vastly different qualifications can hold themselves out as “mediators.” Professional Accreditation assures a vetted background including:
- Verified education and professional credentials
- Extensive and continuing mediation skills training
- Significant experience conducting actual mediations
- Rigorous peer evaluation including personal character, references, mediation knowledge and skills, and effectiveness of results
When is the optimal time to mediate?
The optimal time is very case (and client) specific. Mediations can take place pre-litigation, on the eve of trial, or anywhere in between.
Earlier is often better as:
- Financial costs and emotional stress increase as a case progresses
- Parties become more entrenched and invested making resolution more difficult
- Experts tend to unrealistically pump up expectations
However, party and counsel must be adequately prepared for mediation to be successful:
- Facts must be sufficiently developed
- Legal merits must be understood
- Insurance coverage and carrier issues must be considered
Can mediation be used in-house to resolve organizational conflicts?
Yes! Ms Dickey works with owners, managers and human resource (HR) departments to resolve intra-organizational conflicts. An outside neutral increases the perception of un-biased fairness and can diffuse a potentially volatile situation from erupting into litigation. Party “buy-in” which is inherent in a mediated solution, enhances the working relationship and productivity going forward.