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The Pros and Cons of Mediation

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. The term "mediation" means that you and the other party meet with a mediator (a neutral third party), who helps all of you find at a solution to your dispute. Mediation is mandatory in some states and optional in others. The concept behind mediation is that before a case goes to trial, the parties have an opportunity to negotiate their own settlement terms and conditions.


  • A mediator helps both sides in a dispute evaluate their positions and goals, and negotiate a solution acceptable to everyone.
  • A mediator does not take sides or make decisions.
  • If you reach an agreement with an opposing party through mediation, you can make it legally binding by entering into a settlement agreement (an enforceable contract).
  • Most civil disputes can be mediated, including those involving contracts, leases, and small business ownership.
  • Businesses and individuals who have begun a lawsuit can try mediation at any point during the lawsuit.
  • A mediator can't impose a resolution of the dispute on the parties-you always have the right to say "no."
  • Mediators have experience in bringing reluctant parties to the bargaining table.
  • Mediation is an "informal" proceeding, and much less stressful than spending the day in the courtroom.


  • Because the mediator has no power to impose a resolution of the dispute on the parties, the parties must be willing to compromise.
  • Mediation costs money, and an unsuccessful mediation will result in additional costs of litigation. Costs are usually split between the parties.
  • Mediation takes time, usually anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day.

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