Practice Area

The Mediation Process

Understanding the Mediation Process

At the Law Offices of Denise Eaton May, we believe that one of the greatest benefits of mediation is the fact that it allows for increased flexibility. It can be adjusted to fit the unique needs of the parties involved. For this reason, it does not always follow a set timeline or adhere to a particular structure, which can make the question of how mediation works confusing. 

In many cases, however, the mediation process in California looks something like this:

  1. The mediator explains the rules to which both parties are expected to adhere.
  2. Each party is provided a chance to tell their side of the story.
  3. The mediator will facilitate a discussion between the parties. This can be done by having everyone converse in one room or by having the mediator travel back and forth between the parties in separate rooms.
  4. After the issues have been heard and solutions have been negotiated, the mediator will put the final agreement in writing.
  5. If mediation is unsuccessful, the mediator will advise both parties of their options. Unlike arbitration, mediation allows for the possibility of future litigation.

The Role of Attorneys in Mediation

In mediation, you may retain the use of a private attorney alongside whom the mediator will work. However, securing legal representation is optional. If you choose to keep your attorney, they will still represent you and your best interests. Though, it is essential to note that mediation sessions are not trials. Your lawyer will not cross-examine the other party.

Instead, your attorney may:

  • Assist the mediator in facilitating the conversation
  • Offer legal advice for any of the conditions discussed
  • Help you cooperatively negotiate unresolved issues
  • Answer any questions you might have during the process
  • Review the terms of any agreements reached by both parties
  • Examine the possible consequences and alert you to them
  • Guide you through the final settlement discussions

It is important to note that there are significant differences when comparing lawyers vs. mediators. You may attend mediation with or without an attorney, but a mediator is always necessary. 

There are many benefits to working with a mediator and an attorney to resolve conflicts out of court. While the mediator focuses on furthering healthy discourse, your attorney focuses on you. This can help ensure that the final outcome of your case is closer to your intended goals. 

The Time Mediation Takes Depends on the Issues and the Mediator’s Skill

Resolving a dispute through mediation may take one session or several, depending on the particular issues involved. The speed at which a dispute can be resolved also depends in part on the skill of the mediator. They must have in-depth experience and the innate ability to read between the lines and assess the actual problem.

With decades of legal experience, attorney Denise Eaton May is well-equipped to mediate disputes between employers and employees, business owners and vendors, landlords and tenants, trustees and beneficiaries, and other parties.To set up an initial consultation with her and discover if her approach is the right one for your situation, call our Hayward office at 510-244-3307 or contact our lawyer online.