DBTC Law Firm

“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy

“Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often the real loser — in fees, and expenses, and waste of time. As a peace-maker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.” – Abraham Lincoln

Mediation has changed the face of litigation in recent years and substantially reduced the costs of resolving legal disputes. What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of conflict resolution involving the use of a mediator or neutral person to facilitate the exchange of information and positions between parties with the ultimate goal of reaching a resolution of the conflict between the parties. The mediator does not decide the case or make any rulings regarding the case, but serves purely as a neutral to help the parties work out the issues in their particular dispute. Mediation is often voluntary but is sometimes ordered by a court. To encourage open discussion, any statements made during the mediation are completely confidential and cannot be used by either party at a later date, such as a trial or hearing. Confidentiality is critical to the mediation process and is further supported by Arkansas statute prohibiting the use of any statements made during the mediation process in subsequent litigation.

The first stage of mediation usually involves a session where the parties meet together with the mediator and are able to openly discuss the facts and circumstances of the case from their respective viewpoints. After the initial opening session with all parties present, the parties typically break into caucuses to meet privately with the mediator. Again, confidentiality is critical and the mediator does not share any statements made by a party in a private caucus with the other parties involved unless he or she has permission to do so. Sometimes the parties will reconvene in additional joint sessions and other times remain in their private caucuses and share information and settlement offers back and forth in an effort to reach common ground. The goal is to reach a settlement agreement between the parties at the end of the day.

Why is mediation successful? Mediation is successful in large part due to the impartial nature of the process which allows the parties themselves to determine how to resolve their case as opposed to a judge or jury deciding the case for them. Thus, the parties are empowered to reach a resolution that is agreeable to them without having another entity dictate the result of their case. The confidentiality is also critical to the success of mediation in allowing parties to share information without fear of that being used against them at a later date. Further, mediation encourages the parties to explore various options and ways to resolve the case and sometimes encourages creative resolutions that could not be considered by a court or jury within the confines of the jury trial system.

The Davis Law Firm is proud to have three certified mediators. Don A. Taylor is certified in the areas of civil and probate litigation, Josh McFadden is certified in the area of civil litigation, and Brian Lester is certified in the area of family law litigation. With these areas of certification, the Davis Law Firm is uniquely positioned to mediate a large range of cases for litigants in an effort to achieve amicable resolutions of disputes.

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