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The Pros and Cons of Using Mediation for Your Civil Case

Posted on in Mediation

Milwaukee, WI civil dispute mediation attorneysBy Attorney Christopher Strohbehn and Law Clerk Nathan Froemming

A civil case involves a conflict between you, or your company, and another person or company. Mediation is often the best way to resolve a civil conflict, since it can save time and money for both parties. Mediation has become a common way to resolve disputes between parties and is an alternative to asking a court to make a decision. It is important for any civil litigant to understand what mediation is, as well as some of its benefits and drawbacks. 

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a cooperative problem-solving process in which a neutral professional guides the parties in clearly identifying the issues in dispute and coming to agreements that are in the best interests of all parties. The mediator will not make a final decision in the case. Rather, it is the parties’ responsibility to arrive at a settlement. Mediation can be used as a tool to successfully resolve disputes in a wide variety of areas—including divorce, business, employment, personal injury, malpractice, and many more. 

In a mediation, like in a courtroom, the parties are represented by their own attorneys, who will advocate for their clients. However, mediation tends not to be as adversarial as a court proceeding, as parties will be looking for a middle ground on which to agree. Mediation can be required by a court, or the parties can elect to pursue mediation before taking a case to trial. Also, all communications in mediation are confidential. Therefore, the parties can be confident in the process and be encouraged to voluntarily settle their disputes. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Mediation

One benefit of mediation is that it is typically less costly than court proceedings. Attorney’s fees and costs are lower in mediation, on average. Costs associated with a trial include expert witness fees, deposition costs, and subpoena fees. While these expenses are necessary in order for your attorney to present an effective case to the court, they may not be required in mediation.

Mediation can also bring about a swift conclusion to your case. Though the timeline is different in every case, court proceedings will likely take a longer time to resolve. Court cases are complex and have many more requirements. Parties are also subject to the court’s schedule and availability. Perhaps one of the biggest pros of mediation is that the parties retain more control and will be active participants in the process. In a litigated case, the court will issue a ruling, and the parties will have to abide by it. This often results in both sides being unhappy. 

However, with mediation, you do not have to abide by any agreement that you do not wish to follow. You are not bound to arrive at a settlement or agreement at the conclusion of mediation. This is also a downside of mediation: because either party can always walk away, it may be the case that a substantial amount of work and time is lost because an agreement cannot be reached. Also, there are fewer rules and standards that govern mediation, so a party may feel as though it is not as fair of a process as one that takes place before a judge.

Contact a Milwaukee Civil Mediation Attorney

If you are involved in a legal dispute, civil mediation can be a beneficial way to resolve it. To learn more about how mediation could be used in your case, call our experienced Milwaukee, WI mediation lawyers at 414-271-1440 today. With a wealth of knowledge in the area of civil litigation and mediation, we are confident we can help you reach a satisfactory outcome to your case. 

Sources:

https://www.wisbar.org/NewsPublications/WisconsinLawyer/Pages/Article.aspx?Volume=89&Issue=7&ArticleID=24968

https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/dispute_resolution/Mediation_Guide_general.pdf

https://www.wisbar.org/NewsPublications/Pages/General-Article.aspx?ArticleID=11685

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