Out of Court Settlement of Disputes
Mediation Services on the Western Slope + Northern Colorado
Mediation is an informal and flexible dispute resolution process. The mediator's role is to guide the parties toward their own resolution.
Through joint sessions and separate caucuses with parties, the mediator helps both sides:
- Define the issues clearly
- Understand each other's position
- Move closer to resolution
Most often, mediation starts with a joint session used to set the ground rules and an agenda. The joint session also helps define the issues and determines the parties' positions.
Generally, during the process, parties move to separate caucuses. The mediator will carry offers, counter offers, questions, demands, and proposals between both sides to help the parties move closer to resolution.
Our firm has subject-matter expertise, so that parties may benefit from a mediator who is knowledgeable in the areas of controversy that are the subject of the dispute. Thus, mediators can often give each side an expert, yet unbiased, view of the strengths and weaknesses of the case overall. They may also discuss with the parties what might happen if the dispute does not settle.
Typically mediation will follow these steps:
- The mediator will introduce him or herself and make some opening comments about the rules and goals of mediation.
- Each side is given the opportunity to describe the dispute as he or she sees it without interruption from the other side.
- Depending on the mediator and the parties, the mediator may then start a mutual discussion with both of the parties present or may engage each party privately, going back and forth, working out each issue.
- After discussing the issues with the parties, a mediator will typically bring both parties together to jointly negotiate a solution.
- If the negotiation is successful, the mediator can prepare a written agreement then advise them to consult with their own attorney before signing.
- If the negotiation was not successful, the mediator will typically summarize the issues the parties did agree on, and advise them of their rights going forward.
Mediation should result in a fair compromise, because both sides are more able to freely discuss potential problems (mediation does not result in a public record unlike court cases) and neither side is bound unless he or she explicitly agrees to the proposed settlement. This means neither party is bound by the decisions of a judge or jury, and only agrees to what he or she considers fair.