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Mediation is an effective tool to resolve business disputes.

Posted by attorney Richard Sierra

Mediation is an effective tool to resolve business disputes.

Let's face it. Business litigation is expensive. I frequently represent clients who are involved in business litigation as plaintiffs or defendants. As I evaluate these cases, I begin to think of possible scenarios to solve the legal dispute and the most cost effective method of arriving at a possible solution. In my opinion, a mediation conference is a cost effective way to resolve business disputes.

What is mediation? A mediation is a meeting in which the parties of the dispute utilize the services of a neutral party, a mediator, to act as an intermediary and try to craft a workable solution to the business dispute. Mediations are confidential and the cost for the mediation is significantly less than the cost of litigation. The mediator is usually selected with the agreement of both parties. From my experience, mediator's hourly fees range from $250 to $400 an hour for complex commercial cases. Mediation could take 6 to 8 hours and the fees are usually divided equally between the parties.

When is a good time to mediate in a case? Of course, it depends. However, in my practice, I usually begin to discuss a mediation conference with opposing counsel at the beginning of the litigation. Why? Because it makes perfect sense. If you are a business owner and you are involved in a legal dispute, you probably want to resolve the matter as soon as possible with the least amount of legal expenses. Short of an immediate out of court settlement, which seldom happens, a mediation conference offers the unique opportunity to utilize a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator to attempt to resolve the problem.

A successful mediation conference can "short circuit" the litigation process in one day. Something happens when parties who are involved in litigation spend a day focusing on how to resolve the problem with the assistance of a professional mediator and their attorneys. Usually when litigating parties realize the cost of continuing the litigation will exceed the cost of the mediation, the matter begins to resolve.

If you find yourself in a business dispute, discuss with your legal counsel if a mediation conference is an approach to consider in resolving the matter. The benefits of mediation outweigh the risk and costs associated with litigation.

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