In Minnesota, disputing parties have options for resolving their conflicts. While many people think of litigation, there are other ways to achieve a favorable outcome to your dispute. For many disputing parties, mediation offers a collaborative approach to helping the parties negotiate a mutually satisfactory outcome. The process is much less formal than litigation, as there is no judge to issue a ruling. Instead, a neutral third party, called a mediator, guides the parties through the negotiation process and asks questions that encourage productive communication and help the parties better understand their dispute from both sides’ perspectives, leaving the outcome up to the parties.
Though the mediator does not make any decisions, their approach to mediation will set the tone for the discussions and impact the chances of reaching agreement. So you’ll want to give some thought to who you pick for that role. In Minnesota, courts require parties in litigation to try mediation (or another form of alternative dispute resolution), and in those situations, your lawyer will help you pick your mediator. But you may want to try mediation before a lawsuit starts. As you begin looking for a mediator in the Minneapolis area who can best serve your needs, here are a few tips to support your search.
Focus on Your Mediation Goals
Before you start meeting with potential mediators, it’s helpful to take some time to identify your goals. Are you looking for someone who will take a more active role in shaping the direction of your conversations? Will you and the other party want a mediator who, for example, offers some evaluation of each of your claims? Or would you rather work with a mediator who will step back a bit and let the parties steer the majority of the process? It helps to consider the existing relationship between you and the other party and your communication styles. And keep in mind that you and the other party have to agree on your mediator.
Do Your Research
Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for in a mediator, start searching for mediation services in your area. Explore websites, read client reviews, and ask trusted people for recommendations. From there, start scheduling introductory interviews with the mediators at the top of your list. During these conversations, ask about their mediation experience and general approach to the process. Their answers and conversational styles will give you some idea of how closely they align with your mediation goals. But don’t expect the mediator to discuss the merits of your case with you during those calls. Mediators have to remain neutral, and will not want to even look like they’ve reached an opinion about a case before the mediation session begins.
Make an Informed Decision
When you find a mediator that feels right for your situation, it’s time to move forward with the process. Remember, you don’t have to spend excessive amounts of time selecting a mediator; articulating your goals, talking to a few candidates, and reading up on their client reviews and professional profiles will go a long way in helping you feel more confident in your decision. As you begin the mediation process, you’ll already understand the mediator’s philosophy, conversational style, and overall approach.
Ready to learn more about mediation in Minneapolis and St. Paul? Call Rubric Legal LLC today at (612) 465-0074.