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How can you prepare for mediation for your business?

Mediation is an important tool for businesses that find themselves in disputes. Whether you're facing a construction dispute claim, a breach of contract matter or something else, it might be in your best interests to attempt to resolve the matter via mediation.

When you use mediation, you're working a neutral third party to come up with terms that settle the legal matter without having to go through a trial. This is usually a more cost-effective and less time consuming method than taking the case to trial.

What should you know going into mediation?

The mediator is going to try to help move the negotiations forward by working to keep everyone on track. Going into the first session with your facts fresh in your mind can help. You should also have an idea of what types of settlements you're willing to accept. Remember that this is a negotiation process, so you can't start things out with your final offer. Leave yourself some wiggle room with each term you propose.

Who chooses the mediator?

Battling over who is going to choose the mediator is one of the least of your concerns. It likely won't hurt anything to just go with whoever the other side wants to use. Not only will this reduce some of the stress you'll face, it shows from the start that you aren't trying to control everything about the situation. The exception to this is if the other party is attempting to use a mediator who has a conflict of interests. In that case, reject the person.

What issues should you discuss first?

It's usually best to discuss the smaller issues at first. This sets the right momentum to deal with the larger issues later. Plus, you don't want to be stuck trying to figure out the bigger issues so long that nothing else gets accomplished. This method also helps to ensure that the terms related to bigger issues don't get changed while you're trying to work out the smaller ones.

What else should you know about mediation?

What happens in mediation remains confidential. Some companies opt for mediation simply because information about the company won't be divulged in a trial if the matter is settled this way.

Explore your options before the first mediation session. This may give you the leverage you need to ensure things are handled in mediation.

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