• Philip Reich

Now is the Time for Mediation


Wow, things are picking up! With the ebb of COVID hospitalizations the slow of the spread of the virus, and vaccinations readily available to all who want them, our economy is opening up. People are working, playing, traveling, staying home, and stepping out. The courts are slowly starting to ramp up. Discovering is proceeding at a rapid pace. Cases are moving, slowly but surely. Now is the perfect time for mediation. Of course, there is never a bad time for mediation. Most cases can be settled through negotiations. Mediation just aids that process. Though every case is different, most could benefit from mediation at some point, perhaps anytime, in the process. Compromise settlements allow parties to avoid unknowns, to have some control in the outcome. While the discovery process should technically allow the parties to become more informed about the facts of a case, thus eliminating some unknowns, sometimes what is not known can actually help the settlement process.

  • Do the parties have to be deposed before a case will settle? No.

  • Does discovery have to be completed before a mediation can be successful? No.

  • Is a ruling on dispositive motions necessary for effective settlement negotiations? No.

  • Do they have to be prepared and filed? No.

  • Does a lawsuit even have to be filed before a case is resolved by mediation? Of course not.

I won’t waste anyone’s time. So, we will take time before the mediation to explore whether the parties are ready to negotiate. Regardless of the status of the case, the parties’ willingness is the deciding factor on going forward. And if one party isn’t ready to settle but the other is, that fact alone might change the recalcitrant party’s opinion and inclination. It’s worth exploring, isn’t it? After all, many courts are going to require the parties to attempt mediation anyway. Why not now? Scheduling mediations has become even easier thanks to COVID. Those of us who struggled through virtual mediations may welcome the chance to negotiate and mediate face-to-face, but COVID showed us that there is a viable alternative for those who simply cannot make it in person. Everyone doesn’t have to be physically present for a mediation to be successful. And appearing virtually sure beats being available by telephone, the only option we readily resorted to pre-COVID. Now that we know how to do it (and are used to doing it), we can easily accommodate those who cannot be with us in person via Zoom or some other virtual platform. While everyone is becoming absorbed by the renewed busyness of life and their practice, don't forget about mediation as a tool to help you address some new or lingering matters. There is no time like the present. Let me know how I can help. What are you waiting for?