Friday, December 15th, 2017

The Emotional Satisfaction of Mediation Over Adverse Litigation

January 24, 2013 by  
Filed under Newsletters

Attorneys see it every day—frustrated litigants who feel their voices have not been heard and their pain has gone unacknowledged by the judicial system. It is sometimes easy to forget that clients have emotional needs that courts are ill equipped to fulfill. The San Francisco Bay Area Mediation Office of Kevin C. Coleman offers disputants the ability to explore mutually favorable settlements in a more cost-effective and emotionally satisfying manner than is often achieved through adverse litigation.

Often Litigation Forsakes the Emotional Needs of Parties

Mediation offers parties embroiled in legal disputes a chance to have their voices heard in a way that a hearing or trial could never afford. In court, partial evidence and testimony is offered based on strict rules and procedures; thus, parties are unable to speak candidly. Many litigants feel shut up and shut down by judges constricted by time and evidentiary rules. After significant financial and emotional resources are spent, the court renders a decision—based on its limited statutory options—against unwilling parties. No wonder many litigants are upset after a trial.

Even in as straightforward a case as a small personal injury case, it can be helpful for plaintiffs and defendants to express themselves in ways that they have not been able to previously in the lawsuit. Mediation offers a chance for a party to tell his or her story unconstrained by questions from opposing counsel.

Discovering the Needs and Interests Underlying Clients’ Positions

Thankfully, would-be litigants have another option. Mediation explores the underlying needs and interests that result in parties holding tight to seemingly uncompromising positions. When parties come together, listen to each other and speak candidly without fear of admissions, common ground is often exposed. This sets the stage for compromise and settlement.

Unlike litigation, mediation offers disputants the ability to come up with a myriad of creative remedies to their problems. While litigation is often a zero sum game, mediation expands the available “pie” of solutions, offering both parties a big slice.

Mediation Offers Parties Emotional Satisfaction

When parties are allowed to speak freely, listen to each other and be heard, not only are they more likely to reach a settlement, but they are often more satisfied with the outcome.  This means they are more likely to follow the terms and the spirit of the agreement. If the parties have a continuing relationship, they find they are better able to handle challenges that arise in the future.

More lawyers today are seeing the benefits of interest-based negotiation through mediation to solve disputes over contested litigation. Mediation offers parties something that the judicial system is typically unable to achieve. People often walk away from mediated sessions feeling that they were a vital component of justice being served.

Kevin Coleman is a certified mediator who performs mediation services throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco, Marin County, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sonoma, outlying counties and throughout the state.

Contact Bay Area mediator Kevin Coleman online or by calling 415-488-7609.

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