While sometimes necessary, I believe going to court should be viewed as a last resort. With the right tools and mindset, many disputes can be resolved without the stress of litigation simply by achieving clarity regarding the interests and goals of the parties. Whether dealing with the end of a business partnership, conflict at work, a dispute between neighbors, or any other disagreement that might benefit from a practical, interests-based approach to mediation, I enjoy helping people save costs, time, and relationships, by providing affordable, flexible mediation services.
Confidential pre-suit mediation as an alternative to litigation. Maybe you don’t see how you will ever be able to reconcile your differences, and it seems as though the only path toward breaking an impasse is an expensive and stressful road you’d rather not take. While it is important to protect your legal rights, you owe it to yourself to explore facilitative mediation as a confidential, efficient alternative to litigation.
The 7 basic steps of facilitative conference mediation:
Step 1: Initial statements - uninterrupted time for each party
Step 2: Two-way exchange
Step 3: Mediator’s time to ask questions of both parties together (clarification of issues and identification of interests)
Step 4: Generation of options (both parties together)
Step 5: Evaluation of options (both parties together)
Step 6: Caucus (private meetings with mediator - as needed)
Step 7: Agreement making (when possible)
Find out more about the benefits of mediating disagreements by listening to my own recent podcast on the subject:
Collaborative law offers a team approach to alternative dispute resolution. Collaborative law is a confidential, non-adversarial, voluntary process where both sides join with their lawyers and other third party professionals as a team to work out more complex disputes than might be addressed in mediation, while still aiming to preserve long-term relationships. Collaborative attorneys agree in-advance to not represent the parties in litigation over the same matter, should they be unable to settle during the collaborative process. When needed, third party experts can be recruited onto the collaborative team to help the parties assess and neutrally evaluate more complicated issues.
Honesty and transparency are key
The parties commit to being open and transparent with the team while engaged in the process, but the collaborative process remains voluntary throughout. Collaborative law is currently widely used in domestic matters by family law attorneys, so I am excited to now offer this to my business clients who find themselves facing civil disputes as well.
The 5 basic steps of collaborative law:
Step 1: determining goals, interests, and concerns
Step 2: gathering relevant information
Step 3: developing options (brainstorming solutions)
Step 4: evaluating options (reality testing)
Step 5: a settlement agreement that satisfies as many of the parties goals, interests, and concerns as possible
The above steps can be accomplished in a few group meetings over a short period of time, save considerable expenses for both parties, and remain confidential and voluntary at all times. Once a settlement is reached, a contract is agreed upon by the parties and should provide a map for a way forward that allows for a peaceful, balanced, and thoughtful resolution of the dispute.
Find out more about collaborative law by listening to this episode of my podcast with Melanie Atha, Executive Director of the Global Collaborative Law Council:
The timeless wisdom of working things out:
“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser - in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.”
- Abraham Lincoln
“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle”
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.”
- Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:25-26 (ESV)
“Even a sheet of paper has two sides.”
- Japanese proverb
“Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?”
- Paul of Tarsus, 1 Corinthians 6:5-7 (ESV)
“The courts of this country should not be the places where resolution of disputes begins. They should be the places where the disputes end after alternative methods of resolving disputes have been considered and tried.”
- Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
“Do not find fault, find a remedy.”
- Henry Ford
“I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be.”
- Thomas Jefferson
“The problem with communication is the illusion that is has occurred.”
- George Bernard Shaw
This website advertises professional legal services and dispute resolution services and is not intended to provide legal advice or provide advice on how you should choose to resolve a specific problem or dispute; we will not have an attorney-client relationship, I will not take any action on your behalf, and I will not provide dispute resolution services to you or anyone else until we have established a contractual relationship through a signed attorney engagement agreement, collaborative participation agreement, mediation agreement, or other signed written agreement; every matter is unique, results cannot be guaranteed, and past performance does not predict future outcomes.
The Law Offices of Shiloh A. Coleman, PLLC