Qualified Neutral Services to Help You Reach an Agreement
Attorney Mark Smith is a qualified neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice. He is available to serve as a mediator in disputes involving:
- Personal injury
- Wrongful death
- Property damage
- Insurance coverage
- Business or commercial issues
- Construction disputes
- Landlord-tenant disputes
- Other civil litigation matters
At mediation parties need to listen, be open to new and possibly adverse information and be able to consider compromise. These elements are keys to any successful mediation. Each of these elements can be aided by a mediator who the parties and their counsel can trust. With more than 20 years of experience in civil litigation matters, Mark Smith knows how to assist you in hopefully reaching a positive resolution through the mediation process.
What to Expect
Mediation is largely a self-driven system whereby the parties:
- Agree to mediate
- Are free to discontinue the mediation at any point they wish, and
- With mutual acceptance of terms, can resolve the dispute on whatever terms they desire
As a qualified mediator, Mark has received training in assisting with the process and helping people reach agreement on some or all of the issues in dispute.
Depending on the dispute, mediation may take place with all of the parties in the same room or meeting separately with the mediator, who then serves as a conduit for information. The mediator helps each side explore the strengths and weaknesses of all positions in the dispute. Most civil litigation disputes involving issues of monetary damages are resolved with the mediator “caucusing” separately with each of the parties. However, because the process is participant driven, the parties can choose to meet together if they believe it will help them resolve their dispute.
Things to Consider in Mediation
Regardless of how the meetings and negotiations transpire, the mediation process and all conversations and information exchanged with the mediator are confidential and cannot be used at a later trial.
Prior to starting mediation, the parties must execute an Agreement to Mediate. If the case is resolved, a Settlement Agreement will be executed. Mediated Settlement Agreements are final and binding and can be enforced by the court, if necessary.
Mediation allows the parties to re-take control of their dispute and craft their own resolution that protects them from the potential pitfalls of the judicial process. As such, mediation often:
- Saves the parties thousands of dollars
- Avoids the uncertainty of proceeding with litigation
- Avoids a trial where parties may “win” or “lose” based on the decisions of a judge or jury who are complete strangers to their dispute
How to Choose the Right Mediator
If you are thinking about pursuing mediation as a method of dispute resolution, there are several things you should keep in mind when choosing a mediator.
- Mediation allows the parties to a dispute the opportunity to resolve their differences with the assistance of a neutral mediator.
- The mediator’s only interest in the process is helping the parties reach an agreed settlement, in whatever form the parties wish.
- The mediator does not represent any of the parties.
Selecting a mediator, however, requires more than finding a neutral party. You need a qualified professional with the demeanor, knowledge, training and commitment to make the process a success.
Schedule a Time to Meet With Attorney Mark Smith
If you don’t trust your mediator, it can adversely affect your chances of reaching a successful outcome. It is important to interview your potential mediator to gain a better understanding of the qualifications, style and methods to be employed. We encourage you to contact Mark Smith online or call (651) 788-0236 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your needs and goals in mediation.