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Over the last twenty (20) years, Mediation has become a popular alternative to lawsuits. Mediation is an informal method for people to resolve disputes using a neutral third party called a mediator. The Mediator has no interest in the outcome of the lawsuit.
The Mediator is often an experienced attorney who has been trained to help people discuss and resolve their differences. Mediators do not decide any of the legal issues and do not determine which party “wins” the case. In contrast, the Mediator helps the parties come to a solution on their own by helping the parties communicate and focus on the real issues. The Mediator can also help develop options to resolve the conflict that would meet the needs of all parties.
Mediation is now required by most of Florida’s trial court judges in Civil and Family cases. Mediation has become the most widely used form of alternative dispute resolution because it offers several important advantages to litigation.
One of the key advantages of Mediation is that it gives the parties control over the outcome of the case. When a case goes to trial and the evidence is presented to a judge or jury, the outcome is in the hands of the judge or jury and the parties lose all control over the outcome. However, at a Mediation, the parties have the ultimate control over the terms of the settlement and the management of risk.
Another reason why people prefer Mediation is because it is less adversarial than litigation. At Mediation, litigants are able to meet in a less formal way to discuss the issues and potential resolutions. If parties will have to deal with each other again in the future, such as parents of children who are divorcing, Mediation could help improve the relationship and foster communication. Mediation can also help the parties learn how to deal with conflict in the future.
Another benefit of Mediation is that it is often less expensive and less time-consuming when compared to litigation and trial. Lawsuits usually take many months or years to complete. Mediation can occur a lot faster and with much less cost than litigation. The court system is beginning to learn the benefits of Mediation and most judges send thousands of cases to Mediation each year rather than clog the dockets with cases that could be resolved with a competent Mediator. Also, in many cases contracts between the parties in the case require that any dispute be mediated or arbitrated. This is common in construction disputes, medical malpractice cases and real estate purchase agreements.
Mediation is used in a variety of disputes, from simple civil lawsuits and divorces to very complex cases. The Mediator may have a background in the types of issues and disputes involved, although not necessarily. Mediators come from varied walks of life, and so their practical experience with a certain issue can be invaluable. An effective Mediator is neutral in the evaluation of the merits of the case. However, a good Mediator should be able to help focus and narrow the issues, find common ground, and assist in finding methods to help resolve the case.
In order to begin Mediation, a litigant or party involved in a dispute could propose Mediation to the other side or the Mediator could call the other side with an invitation. Mediators can be found by referrals from courts or a bar association, as well as Mediation companies. It is helpful to find a Mediator with knowledge of the area of law of your dispute.
Mediation can often be very successful in reaching a settlement. If a settlement is not reached, anything learned during the Mediation is generally confidential under state law. However, often settlements are reached because parties are able to hear from the other side and learn more information than they would otherwise know in a lawsuit. Also, parties become invested in the Mediation process and want to avoid spending large sums of money and time on a trial.
Contact Blaut Weiss today to see if Mediation would be a valuable tool to resolve your conflict.
In addition to his active litigation and trial practice, Michael Weiss is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator. Mr. Weiss brings to his mediation practice a background that distinguishes him from many other attorney mediators in the South Florida area. Mr. Weiss has the unique background of having represented both Plaintiffs and Defendants in personal injury and medical malpractice cases over the course his career. Since 1993, Mr. Weiss has obtained jury verdicts on behalf of both Plaintiffs and defendants and has represented both at many mediations. Mr. Weiss earned a reputation as a tenacious litigator who blends compassion and understanding with a skillful ability to remain impartial. Throughout his professional career as a lawyer, he has been commended by employers, clients, associates, and judges for his professional knowledge and integrity. His clients have praised his ability to instill confidence in what they can do for themselves and in his commitment to helping them find the best long-term solutions.
With a highly distinguished career, in 2016 Mr. Weiss was rated a Top 100 Lawyer by the American Society of Legal Advocates. In addition, Mr. Weiss is AV Rated "Preeminent" by Martindale Hubbell and holds an AVVO rating of 10 (Superb). He is a member of the American Justice Association, the Broward County Justice Association, the American Bar Association, the Broward County Bar Association, and an EAGLE member of the Florida Justice Association.
Mr. Weiss graduated from the University of Miami School of Law with a Juris Doctor in 1993 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from Union College in 1989.
If you are interested in more information about the Mediation Practice at Blaut Weiss, please contact Michael Weiss at (954) 634‑1800.
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