What Small Businesses Need to Know About Mediation in Minnesota

When your business is running smoothly, your brain isn’t caught up thinking about how to resolve disagreements. You have a business to run, employees to supervise and pay, contracts to negotiate and fulfill, new ideas to chase down. But conflicts happen. Sometimes you can see them coming, sometimes it seems like they come out of nowhere.

When those conflicts show up, they’ll be a little less disruptive if you’ve already thought about how to deal with them. Lawsuits are one approach, and in many cases, they’re the right approach. But mediation is almost always worth considering, too. Here is a brief overview of the mediation process for small businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Goal of Mediation

Mediation isn’t litigation. You don’t get a ruling, and no one is declared the winner or loser, right or wrong. Instead of arguing your positions before a judge, both parties meet with the mediator — a neutral third party — to talk about their disagreement and see if they can negotiate a solution. The goal of mediation is not to “win” your case but to bring the disputing parties together to create a mutually satisfactory resolution. The mediator does not serve as a judge; instead, they assume a supportive role to guide conversations between the parties, posing questions and sometimes offering ideas the parties might not have thought of.

An Overview of the Mediation Process

Typically, mediation begins with the mediator welcoming the parties and outlining the process and expectations for the session. The parties will then be invited to express their positions, with the mediator asking the parties to listen carefully to one another’s viewpoints. From there, the parties may begin to negotiate their positions, find some common ground, and work toward a resolution. As obstacles arise, the mediator will work with the parties and help them clarify their positions or find ways to move the conversation forward. In most cases — even when the parties start out with strong disagreements — there’s enough overlapping interest between the parties for them to craft an agreement.

A Collaborative Approach to Resolving Many Types of Disputes

Mediation can help businesses resolve several disputes, including contract disputes or sticky negotiations, labor negotiations, workplace conflicts, partnership issues, and many other business-related conflicts. When both parties enter the mediation process willing to listen and work to achieve a common goal, they usually find success. Those who participate in mediation often feel empowered by the process, as they’ve played a direct role in shaping the outcome. Additionally, mediation allows businesses to preserve key relationships, reducing the friction that may develop during litigation.


If you need help resolving a business dispute in Minneapolis, call Rubric Legal LLC today at (612) 465-0074 to learn more about the mediation process.

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