My unemployment insurance was declined by EDD because I worked as a contractor in a company. But I believe I have been misclassified. I should be an employee. After I appeal, EDD set a hearing. I found a name from internet but he is a mediator. He would charge me $2.5k to EDD hearing, wage claim and negotiating with company. What is the difference of mediator and lawyer? Who can represent me better? Does the fee sounds reasonable?
Someone who is a mediator may or may not be well suited to represent you in an adversarial proceeding. It will depend on whether this person has acted as anything other than a mediator.
A mediator's duties are to be a neutral middle-man trained to help get parties to find a way to settle their dispute. Mediators must have knowledge of the law in question to do a good job, and their skills at bringing parties together require them to use persuasion, analysis and communication skills - all important tools of a good advocate.
A lawyer may or may not have that training, depending on the kind of law they usually provide. If you have a litigator as your attorney, you likely have someone who advocates clients' positions for a living - exactly what you need. If the attorney does transactional work or some other legal work that is not adversarial in nature, the attorney may not be the fit for you.
Thus, whether you choose someone who is a mediator by trade, or an attorney (note: many mediators are both) the key is their experience in the forum. Does this person have any real experience in an EDD hearing? That should be your primary inquiry.
It is hard to tell you if the fee is reasonable. That will depend on many things unstated in this post. Years of experience as an attorney, reputation, actual experience in the particular forum, the scope of work agreed to, and many other things can go into a fee. The main question is whether the fee charged is worth it to you, given the possible outcomes.
Keep in mind that if you have been misclassified, the far more valuable claim you might have is not within the EDD process, but instead in a Labor Commissioner administrative claim or a lawsuit for past damages and penalties. It would be prudent for you to locate and discuss the large issue with an employment law attorney at your earliest convenience.
Good luck to you.
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A lawyer is a person that represents another person or entity in Court or in another venue. A mediator is a person (who usually is also an attorney) who acts as a neutral third party to assist in to parties to a lawsuit or other dispute to help reach a settlement. So, a mediator would not be able to represent you in any hearing, unless they were acting as a lawyer in that hearing. A lawyer that is also a mediator doesn't mean that lawyer is any different than other lawyers. It just means that the lawyer sometimes acts as a neutral in helping to settle disputes. You should hire a lawyer, but if you get the opportunity to go to mediation, then you should. It's a good process that helps the parties reach a settlement.
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A mediator would simply help you and the other party come to an agreement about who, what and how much. An attorney makes the case for you based on law and precedent. Good Luck
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