Can mediation be used in-house to resolve organizational conflicts?

Absolutely. I work with owners, managers and human resource (HR) departments to resolve intra-organizational conflicts. Bringing in an outside neutral increases the perception of un-biased fairness and can diffuse a potentially volatile situation from erupting into litigation. Moreover, the buy-in from all parties, which is inherent in a mediated solution, enhances the working relationship and productivity going forward.

How do settlement and award rules differ between litigation, arbitration and mediation?

An arbitration award mimics a judicial award. The court or arbitrator evaluates the evidence presented and renders an award. The nature of damage award options is limited. Court and arbitration decisions are typically binding regardless of a party’s dissatisfaction.

Mediated settlements are always agreed upon and accepted by the parties,  not forced upon them by a judge, jury or arbitrator.  A mediator encourages direct input from the parties and facilitates out-of-the-box thinking, enabling the parties to arrive at creative solutions unavailable in court.

Direct participation and self-determination of parties results in a sense of buy-in,  greater satisfaction, and an enduring resolution.

What are the cost comparisons between litigation, arbitration and mediation?

Litigation and arbitration typically involve an extensive discovery exchange (documents, interrogatories, depositions, expert reports, and electronic discovery) as well as costly pre-trial motion practice.  Discovery is often over-inclusive and prolonged.

Mediation offers significant cost savings.  The mediator facilitates a managed and focused information exchange prior to an initial mediation session.   The cost and time savings in avoiding excessive depositions, expert reports, voluminous e-discovery and motion practice can be enormous.  Parties also avoid legal and business costs associated with protracted judicial delays.