Mediation is a useful tool in a lawyer’s arsenal to settle disputes. I recently took part in mediation involving three parties and their attorneys (of which I was one) using a mediator (a retired Virginia judge) to facilitate the process. Each party and their attorney(s) had a separate room in my building, and the mediator moved from one room to the next, listening to each party’s facts and legal arguments, then moving on to the next room, keeping confidential what the parties requested be kept confidential.
My clients were the Plaintiffs in a litigation already filed but not yet tried. As the Plaintiffs, we had to make the first settlement offer, which was transmitted to the other parties. The other parties, in turn, came back with counter proposals. After eleven and a half hours we reached settlement and signed a settlement agreement. My clients, who had traveled from their homes out of state, were pleased with the result and pleased that they did not have to engage in what would have been a more stressful, lengthy, and expensive trial. “We could not be more pleased with the outcome!” they said.
Mediation—with Virginia’s pool of trained mediators who are, for the most part, retired judges who have gone through a specialized training program—minimizes the risks and uncertainties of trial and allows the parties to be in control of the process and the outcome. Parties to mediation may walk away if no agreement is achieved and still have the option to go to trial.
If you are a resident of Winchester, VA, Frederick County, Northern Virginia, or anywhere in between and are looking for an attorney with experience in business law, estate planning, equine law, real estate law, or civil litigation, contact Joan Fine today.
dispute, judge, mediation, mediator, settlement
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