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Using mediation to resolve a legal dispute on Long Island

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Business Law |

Legal disputes, such as a disagreement over the meaning of a contractual clause, frequently lead to trials, and trials are time-consuming and expensive. For years, judges and attorneys on Long Island have struggled to find a solution to this problem.

Over the last three decades, mediation has become a frequently used method of solving contractual and similar disputes. The Nassau County Bar Association has developed systems of mediation and arbitration that are commonly used to resolve business and personal disputes without the expense and delay of a court trial.

How and why mediation works

Mediation relies on the services of a neutral third party who is trained in mediation techniques. Mediators are not allowed to make a decision for any of the parties. Instead, the mediator is trained not to take sides. The mediator’s goals are assisting the parties in deriving a solution that is satisfactory to everyone involved in the dispute.

Benefits of mediation

The main benefit of mediation is its informal process and the confidentiality of the proceedings. Nothing that is said in a mediation session may be used as evidence if the case goes to trial, and all mediators instruct the parties that they cannot be called as a witness at trial.

The informality and speed of the proceedings generally result in significant savings in attorneys’ fees and other expenses. Each party has significantly greater control over a mediation than it has in a court trial.

How are mediators chosen?

Mediators in the Nassau County Bar Association mediation program are licensed attorneys who have received specialized mediation training. Some mediators are retired judges. The parties may jointly choose a mediator, or the court may appoint a mediator.

Mediators get paid a fee of $300 per hour, and the party who initiates the case must pay an administrative fee of $500. The costs and fees are shared equally by the parties unless they have an agreement that provides otherwise.

If the parties reach an agreement, the agreement is submitted to the court for approval and then filed with the clerk as a final judgment. The fact that each party has approved the agreement effectively means that no one can appeal the outcome.

The presence of attorneys

People often want to know if they can have an attorney present during the mediation. The answer to this question is “yes.” Some attorneys have more experience with mediation than others, and anyone considering submitting a dispute to mediation may wish to look for such experience.