what is mediation

Mediation: What To Expect

Often, mediation is a great way to solve an issue without the help of the court system. It is a collaborative process that can save both parties the time, money, and stress that it would cost them to go to trial over the issue.


While mediation does not always fix a situation, and sometimes the matter may still proceed to trial, it is still a very valuable process within the litigation system. However, many people do not know what it means to participate in a mediation, or what they can expect to get out of it. 


This article will go over what you can expect from the mediation process, and also provide tips on how to get the most out of your experience.


What is mediation?


Mediation is a dispute resolution process that involves the parties already engaged in a litigious dispute about an issue or issue. Mediation is a collaborative process that aims to assist the parties in settling their dispute. Both parties will be joined by their lawyers, who will advocate for their needs, negotiate settlement offers, and advise them on the options they have. 


Along with the parties and their lawyers, the mediator will also attend. The mediator is always a neutral, impartial facilitator whose goal is to moderate the mediation and help the parties negotiate. Typically, the parties will agree on the choice of mediator beforehand. 


Mediation will usually be with an opening remark by the mediator, after which the parties will be placed into separate breakout rooms with their counsel. Although mediation does not always result in a settlement and resolution, the goal of mediation is to reach an agreement about the existing issues between the parties. This is done through a discussion about the merits of each case and also about each party’s settlement position and bottom line. 


What do I need to prepare for a mediation?


Prior to mediation, you will need to speak to your lawyer about what you want to see as a potential outcome. You should be ready to be flexible, as you may need to compromise with the other party to reach an agreement, so always have an idea of your bottom line before attending mediation. 


However, not all mediations involve strictly monetary settlements, so make sure to discuss other requests you have that may be non-monetary in nature. As an example, in the employment context, a positive letter of reference is not a monetary remedy but it still contains a value.


What does a mediation actually look like in practice?


Once mediation begins, the mediator will make an introduction and then divide the parties into separate rooms. The mediator will then go back and forth between the parties to exchange settlement offers and discuss any issues privately. Think of the mediator as a person whose role is to help exchange settlement offers. 


Mediation will usually typically last up to three (3) hours if booked for a half-day, but the parties should always be open to mediating longer if it is necessary. 


So why meditate?


While mediation might not always get you your desired outcome, the process can still be extremely worthwhile. When the process is successful, mediation can save you time and money, and it can potentially keep your relationship with the other party intact. Where court cases can at times take years to complete, mediation can be finished much quicker, and the dispute can be resolved in a timelier manner.


Even when mediations are not successful, they can teach you about your limits in terms of the dispute, and you can feel better about entering taking your matter further, knowing that you explored other options first.


In other cases, mediation can be mandatory depending on the jurisdiction of your matter.


What are some tips for going into a mediation?


When going into mediation, keep an open mind and be flexible. Being unwilling to listen to the other party or unwilling to compromise can often result in an unsuccessful mediation, but the process can be much more productive when both parties are willing to collaborate.


Speak to your legal team about exactly what is important for your case as you prepare for a mediation process.




Mediation can be an incredibly important step when trying to solve a legal dispute. It is a collaborative process that gives room for both parties to speak and try to solve their problem together. If an agreement is reached, it is done so by the parties involved in the dispute. 


It does not always result in a settlement, but it is a useful dispute resolution method that may be recommended to you if it works for your particular case.


Before entering mediation, make sure that you know your upper and lower goals for resolution, and that you have spoken to your lawyer about all possibilities. If you would like to know more about how it works, we would be pleased to assist you. 


Contact Us

If you are an employee or employer with questions about mediation, be sure to reach out to a qualified employment lawyer at Achkar Law. Contact us by phone toll-free at 1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected], and we will be happy to assist. 


If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support with a same-day response, visit our Chief Legal Officer Program page for our strategic solutions.