Sometimes, direct negotiations between the lawyers representing the two parties are enough to resolve a disagreement. The attorneys can potentially set terms that everyone agrees would be fair and appropriate given the situation.
Other times, it may be necessary to explore alternative dispute resolution options, including mediation. Mediation is one of the most useful options for those embroiled in a dispute but still hopeful about resolving the disagreement. Those preparing for mediation often hope for the best, but the lawyers representing them need to be ready for the worst-case scenario.
What should a lawyer do if mediation does not settle a conflict?
Mediation doesn’t always work
Mediation is often a viable solution for those embroiled in disputes ranging from family law conflicts to business disagreements. Working with a neutral third-party professional can sometimes make compromise more achievable. Being able to discuss the conflict in a confidential setting is also often beneficial.
There are even different types of mediation possible, including shuttle or caucus mediation. The mediator can potentially keep the two parties separate to prevent the situation from devolving into an argument. When mediation is successful, the parties sign a document outlining the terms of their agreement in writing. That binding agreement may impose certain obligations on each party.
Unfortunately, there is never any guarantee of success during mediation. One party may refuse to compromise or may come to the table with utterly unrealistic goals. When mediation is not successful, the lawyer representing the party embroiled in the dispute must be ready to take the next step necessary to resolve the issue.
Failed mediation may lead to litigation
When someone cannot resolve the dispute in mediation, they don’t simply walk away with nothing. They may still have other options, depending on the nature of the dispute. Attorneys may help their clients better handle the stress and pressure of mediation by discussing what the next step would be if mediation fails.
Those who realize that litigation is all but inevitable after failed mediation may find it easier to work with the other party and reach a compromise. They may also feel comfortable about rejecting unreasonable settlement offers and imbalanced demands made by the other party when they know they still have the potential of litigating the conflict.
Preparing oneself and one’s clients for the possibility of failed mediation is as important as preparing for the mediation process properly.