At last report, 75- 85% of all NH Court cases that were mediated, resulted in a settlement. This is true even where all prior attempts at settlement had failed, where the parties had spent substantial amounts of time and money preparing for a trial and where the parties were sure that mediation would fail.
Why does it work? There are several reasons.
- A new impartial voice is introduced who is an advocate for a resolution.
- Attorneys are often concerned that any decent settlement offer will be construed as a sign of weakness and will be a new starting point for negotiations. Mediation provides a safe place for communications without concessions. The ability to “test drive” some settlement offers without a formal offer can be helpful in reaching an agreement.
- Mediation provides the space for all parties to meet for the sole purpose of talking settlement. The parties’ entire focus is on settlement, not advocating a “win” of a hearing or an argument.
- Parties and their attorneys are generally invested in “winning” a point, a hearing, and the case. Attorneys’ jobs are to advocate for their client and if the client wants to “win” rather than settle then the attorney will follow that direction. At mediation, the focus is on an agreeable resolution for both sides.
- At mediation, each party has the opportunity to educate their opponent directly. The intensity of the parties’ feelings can be conveyed and a more realistic understanding of the other side can be learned.
- Jointly or separately the parties can develop options for settlement. Such constructive work toward agreement generally does not happen when the parties are seeking victory over their opponent.
The bottom line is that mediation works and allows parties to safely explore options for agreement with an impartial third party mediator.