International Mediation Center World Mediation Services

Reducing Stress in Business Disputes

Statistics reveal that over 95% of civil litigation is resolved without a trial. The goal of mediation is to find a settlement as soon as possible to avoid the time, expense, and emotional drain of spending a year or two in a legal battle.

Most business disputes should be about healing relationships so business can continue. The enemy is the dispute, not the other litigant. When disputes occur our emotions can overrule our common sense. If we cannot get past the "principle" of the disagreement or if we are trying to make a "point", resolution is difficult without the assistance of a professional mediator. Mediation rarely works when parties are set on victory or "justice". Business mediation has its best chance when the parties have their emotions under control and are looking for a reasonable resolution that is as fair to each side as possible.

We focus the mediation on reducing stress by insisting that discussions in joint sessions are polite and positive. The caucus sessions can be used for venting emotion if need be.

Why not just litigate?

Litigation in the United States continues to become more expensive and stressful than ever. Much of the cost is incurred combing through the opponents documents and email and then asking questions in front of a court reporter. Even the process of producing the documents is expensive. Although 95% or so of business cases settle before trial, over a year is usually spent in the discovery process. Motions are filed and argued. Emotions go up and down. Many business people cannot concentrate properly on business so sales decline. Judges and juries rarely award either side the full amount they claim. If the case is appealed, it can last several more years.

It is not uncommon for a business litigant who has gone through the process to feel that it would have been better to have compromised, lost some money, and have used the time to focus on building the business.

What to look for in a mediator

We believe the business experience of the mediator matters. Mediators cannot be equally effective in all disputes. Too often mediators take the full gamut of cases from family law cases to intellectual property disputes.

A good mediator must be able to identify the issues, ask questions, and reframe the dispute if possible. This can be difficult if the mediator knows little about the law relevant to the case and does not understand the business model. We believe you will be best served by a mediator who is experienced in the relevant law and industry.


Commercial Mediation

Telephone:

(206) 219-6629

(425) 775-4177

Litigation of business disputes can be dreary and depressing affairs.

Resources

Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators

California State Mediation Act

Oregon Mediation Core Standards (PDF)

Oregon Mediation Laws

Washington State Mediation Act