Understanding the Business Mediation Process in Minnesota

When a business dispute arises, there are two major options for resolving the matter. The issue may proceed to litigation, where the court ultimately decides the outcome. Or, the disputing parties may participate in mediation, in which they attempt to resolve the matter through collaboration and negotiation. Some situations may find success through mediation, while others may require the court to intervene. However, both options seek to arrive at an equitable resolution—even if the shape of each journey varies. If you are considering using mediation to resolve a business dispute, it’s helpful to understand what the process entails so that you can move forward with confidence.

Determining Whether Mediation is the Right Path

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which allows for the disputing parties to resolve the conflict outside of the courtroom. This process is voluntary, so the parties must agree to participate in mediation before the process can begin. From there, the parties need to select a neutral mediator to oversee and facilitate the negotiations. Situations in which the parties can agree to communicate openly and honestly with one another often find success through mediation, while more contentious disputes may require litigation to obtain a resolution. In some cases, the parties begin the mediation process and soon discover that litigation is more appropriate. For the most part, parties who are willing to work together to negotiate an equitable settlement typically find success using mediation.

What to Expect Throughout the Business Mediation Process

Before the first meeting, each party prepares a written summary of the situation or schedules an individual meeting with the mediator to go over their position. Once the mediator has a solid understanding of the dispute, they will schedule an initial session at a neutral location. At the initial meeting, the mediator will give a brief overview of the process and inform the participants of the guidelines and expectations. From there, the parties will have the opportunity to present their points of view, and the mediator will facilitate discussions and negotiations that move toward a resolution. Depending on the complexity of the situation, the process may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete. As soon as the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will put these provisions in writing and ask the parties to sign it and the process will officially conclude.

Choosing a Mediator to Resolve Your Business Dispute in Minneapolis

Struggling with a business dispute can be frustrating and time-consuming, and it may be tempting to press forward with mediation or litigation as quickly as possible. However, it’s worth taking some time to select the appropriate mediator for your business dispute so that the process runs smoothly. It’s important to remember that a mediator does not determine the outcome of the dispute as a judge or arbitrator would; instead, their role is to facilitate discussions and encourage the parties to reach a workable agreement. Reach out to a few mediators to get a sense of their approach to the process and whether they seem like they’d be a good “fit” for your specific needs. By carefully selecting a mediator, you’ll likely feel more supported and empowered throughout the dispute resolution process.


Rubric Legal LLC offers thoughtful and compassionate business mediation services to clients in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Call (612) 465-0074 today to get started.

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