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"The notion that most people want robed judges, well dressed   lawyers, and fine court room settings to resolve disputes is not   correct. People with problems, like people with pains, want relief,   and they want it as quickly and as inexpensively as possible."
- Former Chief Justice Warren Burger

What is it?
Mediation is an effective, but often misunderstood, problem-solving strategy. It is a process in which a neutral intermediary acts to facilitate communication and agreement between people and businesses involved in a dispute.

How does it work?
At the mediation session, all participants share their point of view. The mediator and other participants ask questions to ensure clear understanding of all relevant issues, interests, and positions.

The mediator does not:

Act as anyone's attorney
Give legal advice
Evaluate the matter
Decide who wins or loses

The mediator assists participants in creating and evaluating options to resolve the dispute. When an agreement is reached by the parties, the specifics are reviewed and can be written down and signed by all parties. Such an agreement may be legally binding, and further, indicates the participants' commitment to the resolution of their dispute.

Other mediation advantages:

Supports a cooperative rather than a competitive decision
Avoids the escalation of antagonism inherent in litigation.
Encourages communication focused toward resolving the conflict.
Avoids costly and time consuming litigation.
Avoids public disclosure of private matters.
Hastens resolution of the dispute.

Minimal Risk
Because mediation seeks to reach mutual agreement and is non-binding if an agreement cannot be reached, little is lost if the dispute is not resolved. The cost of the mediator's services and the time of the participants are the only investments made in the commitment to utilize mediation.

Control
As a participative process, mediation enables participants to maintain control of the decision making process. It creates an environment where people feel heard and are encouraged to communicate and cooperate rather than compete to reach an agreement.

Convenience
Mediation is a process which is not dictated by the legal system's schedule. Participants meet at their convenience in terms of time and location. Mediation strives for a speedy, but satisfactory solution rather than years of anticipation, anxiety, and questionable resolution in the courts.

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