What is mediation and why is it a better decision than going to trial?
Mediation is a process that usually happens outside of a court that doesn’t have to comply with all the court formalities of people being on the witness stand and evidence rules. Managed by a retired judge, it’s an opportunity to solve the dispute outside of court at about 1/10th of the cost and time of going to a full-blown trial.
Several courts now offer mediation as one of their services.
Frequently, people come in feeling wronged. There is a dispute and they’re upset and rightly so. We share their burden but we know something they don’t know. The more they fight, the more we win.
My job, my philosophy, the reason I started my company was to have a place where I knew that the advice I was giving was the best advice I could give. Very often that advice is, “Stop fighting!” rather than ramping them up and running the bill up to $20,000 or $30,000 knowing that they could settle it next week for a 1/10th of that.
Unfortunately, sometimes the attorney on the other side wants to drag it out because it might be the only case they have, causing the family to suffer. But the good news is there are many good attorneys in Southern California who want to agree to mediation. 99% of the time people can settle without feeling like they gave away all of their positions.
Is the decision made in mediation bonded and done?
It is up to the judge and the parties involved that day, but in our experience in the last five years, it’s been 99 out of 100 of the mediations that settle that day.
Mediation can be tough because you can walk away feeling like you gave them a little more than you should, but that is how you know it’s a good thing.
We don’t just tell our clients to give their position away. In some situations, a client is 100% right but it still makes sense to go to mediation. What happens is the judge there convinces the other side, “If you keep going, you’re going to lose and you’re going to pay their attorney’s fees.” It can be better to have to give the opposing ‘x’ amount of dollars instead of giving it to a lawyer.
If you’re out looking for revenge and you just want to stick it to somebody, I’m not your guy. But if you’re looking to come to a place where we are here to solve your problem then you’ve come to the right place.
In mediation, you really get a neutral third party, a retired judge that’s going to come in there and see both sides.
We do a very careful screening process of the types of cases we take when it comes to contested matters and potential litigations. Is our client right? Are they the good guy? Very often, we come in knowing we could easily win with the facts if we go all the way but we’re willing to stop right now and give the opposition a little bit more so we don’t have to do that. The opposition will generally want to get a few bucks now and get out of there.
Unfortunately, in the legal profession, there’s no incentive for lawyers to do anything but fight as hard as they can. But instead, we always like to clarify. What’s mediation? Why am I going to go to that? Why am I being pushed toward it?
You’re not being pushed toward anything except saving yourself a lot of time and money. In many situations, mediation can be the best option.