Mediation is a process through which parties in conflict come together to openly and honestly discuss a problem. As a mediator, I facilitate this process by helping the parties identify and talk about their issues. Through these exchanges, each side begins to understand the other’s point of view. People are often surprised by how many ways there are to solve disputes successfully. Once an agreement is reached, I will write up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which the parties will review and sign. The parties are encouraged to have a lawyer vet this document.
Mediators are impartial. We do not offer advice. It is not about what we think the parties should do. Rather it is about what the parties feel works best for them. A mediator is there to guide parties through the mediation process toward a possible resolution. Mediation can often be contentious and involve multifaceted issues. I maintain impartiality to make sure the solutions found are solely the products of the parties involved.
The mediation process is completely confidential. All notes are destroyed after the session(s). Mediation between parties is considered privileged communication and is not admissible in court. The mediators cannot be forced to testify in court cases or depositions.
Sometimes during mediation, one or both of the parties will ask to talk to me privately. I may also ask the same of the parties. The results of these conversations will not be shared unless the party explicitly asks me to share them.
Although most mediations are conducted face-to-face, it is not unusual for parties to prefer that the entire mediation take place in caucus. In such cases, I shuttle back and forth between the parties until the dispute is resolved successfully.
Once parties reach an agreement, I will summarize the terms in a written document called a Memorandum of Settlement (MOS) to be signed by both parties. I will then prepare the final agreement based on the MOS.