Litigation can be extremely expensive, not to mention stressful. Mediation saves time and very often minimizes the expense and stress involved in resolving a dispute. In addition, alternative dispute resolution, and specifically mediation, allows individuals to closely tailor solutions that fit their specific needs. Mediation addresses a variety of issues that are often overlooked in litigation, mostly because the law cannot take into account thinks like emotions or personal relationships that fall outside its scope. The parties and their attorneys have the best solutions for an enduring resolution of their dispute—not a judge, not a jury and not a mediator. Unrealistic case valuation, a party that is irrational (or seems irrational), impasse or concerns over impasse, and a variety of other hiccups are a normal part of the negotiating process. Mediation allows for a customized solution. There are a wide variety of tools that can be brought to bear to assist the parties to break through impasse and move on to resolution, including refocusing on interests, better understanding each party’s position, or using alternative negotiation proposals. Julie Arbuckle will facilitate this process for you, helping you work through conflict to arrive at an agreement.
There are generally no such fees.
My approach is to ensure that mediation is a fair, just, and unbiased process that results in an outcome better than what the parties likely will achieve through litigation in court. Ultimately, my role as a mediator is to provide a space between the disputing parties where all parties feel confident they will be heard and understood, where counsel finds an open-minded forum for the discussion and analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and where each side can trust in the fairness of the process as the parties find their optimal resolution.
I always invite counsel to provide me with their input in advance of the session, and that includes their opinions as to what is needed and expected, such as the approach of the neutral, to reach a resolution. If a dispute warrants, in the opinion of counsel, a particular approach, then such information is always welcome.
I specialize in helping people resolve disputes and I focus on resolving the types of matters where I have experience as a mediator, litigator, corporate in-house director of litigation, and/or engineer. My background is broad, and in most areas pretty deep too. Some consider a mediator’s familiarity and experience with the legal and factual issues in a specific subject important and some consider it irrelevant; without taking a position in that debate, and regardless of how important it is to you, I am familiar with most if not all issues in the types of cases I accept as a mediator.
No. Attempts to resolve disputes through mediation are often required in contracts, or by statute, as a condition that must be satisfied before a lawsuit may be filed. But whether pre-litigation mediation is required or not, sometimes disputes can be more easily and effectively resolved before there is a lawsuit. Recognizing and resolving a dispute early can be very cost-effective. A lawsuit can often mean that attempts to find a resolution to a problem were unsuccessful and the parties have resorted to the courthouse for help; mediation is not always part of those initial attempts, but it certainly can be. Workplace conflict, contractual disputes, business differences, construction issues, problems arising from real estate transactions, insurance coverage disagreements and many other types of disputes can be addressed through mediation at any time, whether or not they are already the subject of litigation.
This is one of the most common questions, and one with no easy answer. The short answer is that a session lasts as long as it takes to achieve a resolution or for everyone, including me, to conclude that more effort devoted to the mediation process at that particular time would be futile. Mediation is more a process than a timed event. Some participants arrive at mediation sessions more ready to reach a resolution than others, which can be frustrating to some. However, it is also why people turn to mediators for help.
Every party and party representative with settlement authority must attend. Anyone else whose input is needed or whose authority or approval is necessary to conclude a settlement agreement should in most instances also attend. See the "Rules" page of this site as well. Anyone whose presence would disrupt the resolution process and whose attendance is otherwise unnecessary might be best left off the list of invitees.
Nearly all of my mediation sessions are conducted in the offices of counsel.
Can I or my client or my insurance representative (or someone else who will be making a decision) participate by telephone?
I highly recommend against it. For a number of reasons, physical presence is preferable and not being at the session physically can present an additional set of potentially complicating obstacles to resolution. Nevertheless, I have successfully resolved matters where participants were on the phone, constantly or nearly non-stop, throughout the mediation session, and other matters where the telephone contact was periodic. Who will not be attending is an issue that must be fully explored, through my office, with everyone before the mediation is set; attendance or the lack thereof should not be a surprise, especially at the last minute, to anyone.
It is not mandatory. However, I prefer mediation briefs, because I have found that most participants like the mediator to be aware of as much as possible about the dispute before the mediation session convenes. I have also found that the process works more efficiently if counsel provide me with briefs, and any other materials they want me to understand, in advance. Thoughtful briefs also allow counsel and parties to fully evaluate both their own and their opponent’s positions, strengths and weaknesses.
In appropriate instances, yes, but that is not my preference and it may not be best for those involved in the dispute either.
English. However, as long as can I communicate with everyone, through counsel, an interpreter or others, I can conduct and have conducted mediations successfully where some participants are/were not conversant at all in English. Provision of an interpreter is the responsibility of the party and/or the counsel for the party who requires such assistance.
First, I am available before the mediation and help prepare all parties for the mediation session. I initiate telephone conference calls with counsel prior to our session to confidentially discuss the case, to customize the session process, discuss procedural issues, identify key factors perceived to positively or negatively impact the prospects for settlement, and to answer questions. During the mediation, I make a determined effort to understand how the dispute came about, what is important to each party with respect to the resolution of the dispute, and what emotional or other issues need to be addressed before an agreed-upon resolution can be reached. In the event the case does not settle during the mediation session, I consistently follow-up with counsel to assist them in finding the next opportunity for resolution. Lastly, given the depth of my experience successfully resolving disputes, I am well equipped to assist you as you make this journey. I welcome the opportunity to work with you to resolve your dispute.