Mediation Services | Shell, Fleming, Davis & Menge
Attorney: Robert C. Palmer, III
Bob Palmer is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator. He handles multi-party disputes through mediation, a form of alternative dispute resolution, whereby parties attempt to resolve their differences without going to court.
What are the advantages of mediation over going to trial or arbitration?
While a mediator may charge a fee comparable to that of an attorney, the mediation process generally takes much less time than moving a case through the court system. While a case may take years to resolve, mediation usually achieves a resolution in a matter of hours if not a few days in more complex matters. Taking less time means expending less money on hourly fees and costs. Additionally, the parties in dispute are able to move forward without the stress and ongoing expenses of a pending court case.
While court hearings are public, mediation remains confidential. No one but the parties to the dispute and the mediator or mediators know what happened. The trial judge is notified if a case settles in mediation but not the terms of the settlement. Similarly, a court is notified if the parties participated in mediation but did not reach a settlement. The proposals made during the mediation are not reported to the judge, only that the matter was not resolved. Confidentiality in mediation has such importance that in most cases the legal system cannot force a mediator to testify in court as to the content or progress of mediation
Mediation increases the control the parties have over the resolution. In a court case, the parties obtain a resolution, but control resides with the judge or jury. Often, a judge or jury cannot legally provide solutions that emerge in mediation. Thus, mediation is more likely to produce a result that is mutually agreeable for the parties. In a mediation the parties can be creative in their resolution efforts, often providing one or more of the parties with relief not available through a trial or arbitration.
The mediated agreement is, however, fully enforceable in a court of law.
How should the parties select a mediator?
Parties looking for a mediator should carefully consider the mediator’s experience- both in trial and as a mediator, as wells as the legal and communication skills and credibility of the person being considered.
The best mediator for a particular case will be a law-trained professional who is familiar with the subject matter of the case. Most often, parties should seek out an attorney with experience litigating and mediating similar disputes. It is important to realize, though, that not all attorneys are trained and certified as mediators. Successful mediators are known for their ability to help other lawyers calm down and reach a consensus.
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