Shielding our Clients From the High Costs of Litigation
In North Carolina the parties to a civil lawsuit filed in Superior Court are required to engage in mediation before the matter is heard for trial. The parties and their attorneys meet with a mediator and outline their claims and defenses. After this joint session, the parties typically go into separate rooms with the mediator assisting the parties in exchanging settlement offers and insights.
During mediation, parties to a lawsuit endeavor to work out a solution to their conflict prior to trying their case in court. The goal of mediation is for parties to talk through the issues so they feel they have been heard and hopefully reach a common understanding and solution. It allows the parties to develop their agreement rather than having a judge decide for them, which often means fewer problems in the future. Mediation is less costly both in money and time than if the case were tried in court.
Most mediators are experienced lawyers or former judges, so they often provide a good indication of what may occur with the case at trial and can also offer a balanced opinion of the issues presented. The mediator’s opinion is non-binding, and he or she has no power to force an agreement between the parties, so mediation does not always result in a settlement.
It is helpful for both parties to have lawyers present during mediation to explain the applicable law and advise their clients about the consequences of an agreement reached in mediation. Our litigators have extensive experience with mediations both from the plaintiff’s and defendant’s perspectives.
We will advise you on the law that is relevant to your case which will help you understand the possible outcomes both during mediation and, if mediation fails, during the trial of your case. We will advise you on what information to share during the mediation process and guide you through the negotiating process. We will also draft the formal agreement should a settlement be reached during mediation or review the terms of an agreement prepared by the other party’s attorney.
If no agreement or only partial agreement is reached during mediation, we will continue to represent you during the trial or settlement of the issues should that occur before trial has begun. We will also assist you in enforcement of the terms of a negotiated settlement should that become necessary.