Mediation Information for Clients
Taking a case to trial is often a long, expensive, and emotionally draining process. In some cases, going to court is the only way to resolve a legal matter, but an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) may provide a more cost effective and satisfactory result for contested matters.
Mediation is a process by which a neutral third party assists the parties and their attorneys to negotiate a settlement. The mediator has no authority to force a settlement, his role is to facilitate and, if requested, evaluate the positions of the parties and help all concerned come to agreement. Unless the parties agree no settlement is reached and there is no binding effect. However, if the parties agree to a set of terms, a contract negotiated with the help of the mediator can be legally binding.
Mediations are less formal than courtrooms, and unlike taking a case to trial, matters can be confidential. A mediator’s job is to bring the parties in a dispute together. The more informal atmosphere of mediation can be conducive to dealing with the emotional side of a dispute that is not possible in the formal atmosphere of a courtroom. A mediator is there primarily to listen and encourage the parties in a dispute to come an agreement. Through impartial and independent evaluation, a mediator can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both sides’ cases and help them attempt to find common ground. From there, it is easier to come to a monetary settlement in the matter.
Mediators are neutral and verify that they have no conflicts of interest in the matter so that they can be entirely impartial, much like a judge in a courtroom. Since they have no interest in either side of the case, and they don’t represent either party, it will be possible for them to see and suggest possible creative resolutions that the parties might not come up with on their own because they are monetarily and emotionally invested in the outcome.
Payment to the mediator agreed upon before the mediation takes place. The costs may be borne by one party or shared.
The Mississippi Supreme Court maintains a list of available and qualified mediators. Robin L. Roberts, managing partner at Roberts and Associates, is on this list and has experience with mediation, both as an attorney for one of the parties in a dispute and as a mediator. If you would like to request a fee schedule for Roberts and Associates to mediate your litigation matter, or would like to speak to Mr. Roberts about mediating your case, please call the office at 601-544-0950 or email him from the contact form on this site.