I act as a “mediator” to assist people, sometimes along with their attorneys, to resolve disputes through mediation without going to court or trial. I serve on the Central Court Probate Mediation Panel and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Mediation Panel.
15 ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDIATION
1. What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which the participants design the solutions to their own dispute(s).
2. How much does it cost?
With fees as low as $150 an hour, mediators (who sometimes work in teams), mediating disputes can cost substantially less than lawsuits, where the attorney fees may be $200 – $300 per hour for each lawyer. Even if you have an attorney with you in the mediation, the costs of mediating can be significantly less than the cost of litigation.
3. Why is mediation different from litigation?
In mediation the parties attack the problem, not each other.
4. What if the other party tries to force me to take an unfair compromise?
Only you decide if you will accept a compromise in order to settle your dispute. No one can force you to agree to anything.
5. Don’t lawyers have to be involved to solve a legal problem?
Not necessarily. Of course, you may want to review any agreement with your lawyer before you sign it.
6. Who represents me in mediation?
You may represent yourself, be represented by an attorney, or accompanied by a non-attorney.
7. What does the mediator do?
The mediator facilitates discussion to help the parties resolve their disputes with “win-win” compromises they can both agree to, instead of “win-lose” court decisions.
8. Is the mediator a lawyer?
Some mediators are lawyers, but others come from a wide variety of occupations.
9. Is what I say in mediation going to be used against me in court?
Your mediation session is confidential and neither you, the other party(ies), nor the mediator can testify in court about the mediation without the written permission of all of the parties.
10. Is mediation as stressful as litigation?
No. Because you control the process and design the solution, mediation is less stressful than litigation.
11. Is the mediation agreement enforceable in court?
Whether the agreement is a binding contract or a good faith statement of principles is up to the participants.
12. What rules do I have to follow in mediation?
There are no set rules – the participants can write their own rules if they don’t like those suggested by the mediator.
13. What if I decide that mediation won’t solve my dispute?
You are always free to discontinue the mediation.
14. What kinds of disputes can be resolved through mediation?
Mediation can be used to solve a wide range of disputes, such as lawsuits, divorce and child custody, landlord/tenant, workplace disputes and neighborhood problems.
15. How can I get in touch with a mediator?
Call or write Brian Sheppard at 10875 Ventura Blvd., Suite 109, Encino, CA 91316. Tel: (818) 342-5799. Fax: (818) 342-2470. Brian Sheppard has been working with Seniors since 1990 and has been trained in mediation by the Los Angeles County Bar Association and Dispute Resolution Services. He currently serves on the U.S. Bankruptcy Panel and the Los Angeles Count Superior Court Probate Mediation Panel. You can find him at BrianSheppardLaw.com, LinkedIn, Facebook and AVVO.