A mediator can facilitate an agreement between two parties. A mediator also provides a bipartisan outlook and professional recommendations that you may have not been able to recognize through your own clouded judgments and predispositions. But most importantly a mediator can save you money! Mediators are arguably the most cost effective legal alternative to civil litigation.
Have you ever heard the saying, “the power of the people?” The same intrinsically applies to the concept of mediation. In mediation, the mediator assists in setting the tone, gathers both sides of the equation and tries to find a middle ground to satisfy both parties. Skilled mediators have the ability to understand the root cause of hate/hurt/helplessness and turn it into happiness.
Even though we are painting mediation as a collaborative, engaging experience, it as anything, has its downsides. Mediation is not to be taken lightly, nor does going to mediation guarantee results. During mediation tempers are going to fly, tears will be shed, boxes of tissues used, and voices raised. All of the same emotions you experience during civil litigation exist in mediation, but the main difference is that you have remarkably more power in the fate of the outcome.
The caveat with mediation is that nobody is obligated to attend, unless it is court-ordered, but even in that instance, you are under no obligation to agree to anything. In court-ordered mediation, both parties are still strongly recommended to speak to their respective attorneys afterward to go over any tentative agreement before an agreement is solidified.
How Much Can a Mediator Save Me?
Many factors go into the final cost of mediation. The complexity of case is by far the largest, most significant variant affecting cost. If both parties are relatively on the same page it will drastically decrease the cost, both from an hourly rate perspective and a workload/negotiation/paperwork perspective.
On average mediation can cost $500-$3000. The same type of case handled in civil litigation can cost $15,000-$35,000+. The drastic monetary difference is the result of higher attorney fees, costs to file petitions, subpoenas, court costs, preparing motions, hiring experts, hearings/court appearances, going trial, etc.
One of the goals of mediation is to find common ground. If you enter knowing it will be a give and take situation, you will be prepared for a more advantageous outcome. Keep this in mind if you are deciding to pursue civil litigation or mediation.