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Mediation is a cost-effective and timely way to resolve disputes. Two or more parties voluntarily agree to enter into mediation to resolve a dispute, which may involve commercial, community, family, workplace, or legal conflict.
The people involved in the dispute agree to have a third party facilitate the mediation and negotiate a compromise acceptable to all involved. The mediation is held in private and is confidential, non-adversarial, and can have the force of law.
The parties in mediation usually do not have attorneys, but some situations may need legal representation.
Most people who enter into mediation do not have an attorney because they are willing to work things out. You do not need an attorney unless your issue involves significant legal or property rights.
However, it is advisable to consult with an attorney before entering into mediation to talk about legal ramifications a settlement outcome may have and how you can you protect your rights.
An attorney experienced in mediation also will know the process and provide valuable insight.
If you just want a consultation prior to mediation, your attorney can be your law coach and prepare you for mediation.
If you want an attorney at your side during the mediation, your lawyer can address points as they come up during negotiations and advise you regarding what may or may not favor your case.
Before you agree to a settlement of your dispute, your lawyer also can advise you about the legal ramification of the various settlement terms.
You also may want to build into the settlement the condition that you will agree to the resolution once your lawyer approves it.