The short answer is that mediation allows a litigant to maintain control and to hedge against both an unfavorable ultimate outcome and possible bumps along the way. An added plus is that significant expense can be saved, such as the costs of preparing expert witnesses for trial, and their fees for testifying at trial.
For the decades preceding the pandemic, proceeding to trial risked a disappointing verdict, possible adverse impacts upon the case during the waiting period to be reached for trial, and the litigation and emotional costs of a trial. In the current environment, we do not know when civil cases will actually be reached, and what form that trial will take. The Courts are dealing with family and domestic violence cases, as well as criminal cases that have the constraint of constitutional speedy trial requirements. Once the current stay of evictions in residential tenancies is lifted, there will be a tidal wave of cases where landlords may be owed huge sums of money that have put them in severe financial distress.
The blunt reality for attorneys and litigants in civil cases is that these matters simply are not emergent when compared to all of those listed above, and it is unclear at best when judicial resources will allow the civil cases to proceed. As to the form of the trial, the Courts are already presenting details as to how cases will proceed at trial. At best, juries will be in one location and attorneys and witnesses in another, with a virtual connection.
In 2021, a claimant in a lawsuit is faced with all of the uncertainties and issues in proceeding to a jury trial that already existed, and now it is unclear when the case will be reached, and whether they will ever be able to testify face to face with a jury. Additionally, with the strain upon judicial resources, it would appear very unlikely that a civil case will ever proceed to a meaningful settlement conference before a Judge.
Putting this all together, it is now more important than ever to have a forum where the parties can get together to focus upon the the particular facts of the case, the possible risks and rewards to each litigant, the lack of meaningful settlement alternatives, and the total costs of simply allowing an uncertain trial system to take control. With the assistance of a mediator who has spent a lifetime litigating civil cases, the parties have an opportunity in an unhurried environment to express their feelings, present their case, evaluate both their case and the case against them, and have the benefit of the input and analysis of a seasoned litigator as to all of the issues involved.
In order to make mediation accessible to everyone, we offer a flat fee of $1800 for a complete mediation. This includes absolutely everything, review of all materials submitted by the parties, all communications, travel, expenses, and a half day mediation session. In a two party case, each party pays $900, and there is no further administrative effort, no review of further bills or additional payments. During the preparation for the mediation, the parties can submit extensive materials, have pre-mediation communications, and maximize the preparation for the mediation session, without a thought as to any cost for those efforts.
Should the parties desire to extend the mediation to a full day as the mediation session takes place, they can do so. If preferred, a mediation can also be arranged at an hourly rate rather than a flat fee.