Michael Song, Managing Partner
Mediation Practice Group Leader
"Mediation is a cost-effective process that gives power to the parties involved and reduces the chances of surprises."
Colorado Mediation Lawyer
At Cantafio & Song PLLC, our team of highly skilled attorneys provides premier mediation of civil litigation and other disputes.
The benefits to this settlement and negotiation process include independent analysis of evidence & legal arguments, promotion of the proper settlement environment, improvement of communications, and identification of key case issues. As an alternative to the JAM or JAG models for mediation, our team of attorneys offers lower cost mediation services from the perspective of a legal practitioner.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential “alternative dispute resolution” process that attempts to resolve conflicts, avoid formal legal action if possible, or resolve litigation without the expense, risk and uncertainty of trial. The mediation process focuses on problem-solving that brings parties together to resolve their differences through dialogue to create a “win-win” solution. Mediation as a dispute resolution strategy Is intended to result in parties’ greater satisfaction with and ownership in resolutions they have a role in creating. Even if total resolution of a dispute is not accomplished through mediation, the process can assist parties in identifying the underlying reasons for the dispute, narrowing and clarifying the issues, and discovering areas of common ground where potential for agreement may exist.
By offering a safe environment for parties to express their needs and interests, discuss options and reach a mutually agreeable resolution, mediation can preserve important relationships. Mediators assure the fairness of the process, facilitate communication, and maintain the balance of power between the parties. Mediation is confidential, and statements made during mediation generally cannot be used in subsequent litigation, and the mediator cannot be called as a witness.
Mediation is often required by contracts or operating agreements as a prerequisite to initiating legal action. And even if a lawsuit is initiated, many courts issue orders requiring the parties to participate in alternative dispute resolution prior to a trial, which often leads the parties to mediation.
The Mediation Process
While each dispute and mediation is unique, the mediation process typically involves one or more meetings between the disputing parties and the mediator. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps facilitate the dialogue, but is not a final decision-maker, arbitrator, or judge. Mediators assure the fairness of the process, facilitate communication, and maintain the balance of power between the parties. By offering a safe environment for parties to express their needs and interests, discuss options and reach a mutually agreeable resolution, mediation can preserve important relationships.
Mediation may also include one or more confidential sessions between individual parties and the mediator (a “caucus”). Either party may withdraw at any time. Generally, a signed agreement is binding; in some cases, court approval may be necessary.
During mediation, parties may choose to be represented by an attorney. Mediators may not give legal advice or interpret the law. They can refer parties to impartial outside experts in legal, financial, or other fields to address specific questions or issues that might arise.
If parties arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution, the mediator will assist in drafting an agreement or memorandum of understanding setting forth the terms to which the parties have agreed. If mediation is unsuccessful and an agreement cannot be reached, parties may still pursue all legal remedies, including private lawsuits.
The process typically involves one or more meetings between the disputing parties and the mediator. It may also include one or more Either party may withdraw at any time.
A settlement conference for pending litigation, as conducted by Cantafio & Song PLLC, is an informal assessment and negotiation session typically conducted in three parts. First, all parties and counsel will meet together with the mediator and review the settlement process and relevant background on the dispute and the procedural status of the litigation.
Next, the process will usually involve separating the parties and reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the respective sides of the dispute, where the mediator draws on his or her experience to provide an objective analysis of the value of the case and the merits of the legal arguments. The mediator will then facilitate negotiation among the parties until a satisfactory settlement is reached or it becomes apparent that negotiations must be concluded or continued at a later date.
The final step involves bringing the settlement conference to a close and the drafting of a written agreement outlining the agreed upon terms of the settlement. Generally, a signed agreement is binding; in some cases, court approval may be necessary.
What Does the Mediator Do?
The mediator is an unbiased third party who assists and guides parties to a conflict to reach their own resolution. This is accomplished through the mediation process which includes identification of the issues, problem solving, and, if possible, an agreement. The mediator does not provide legal advice or decide the outcome of a dispute, but the mediator can help focus discussion and provide important insight and observations based on his or her perspective, experience, and expertise. The mediator will help the parties focus on important issues and will provide a safe and confidential environment.
Mediators often employ a variety of approaches in assisting the parties, depending on the situation and dynamics. This can include moderated discussions with all of the parties, or separate confidential sessions between individual parties and the mediator (a “caucus”).
Is There a Fee Associated with Mediation? How Much Does Mediation Cost?
Mediators at Cantafio & Song PLLC do charge for their time, but in most cases it is less costly and more efficient than going to court. The cost of mediation varies depending on the complexity of your dispute and the rates set by your selected mediator. Unless the parties agree otherwise, the mediator’s fees will be split equally between the parties.
Cantafio & Song PLLC mediators offer the option of online mediation using video technology. Online mediation may be useful when the parties to the mediation are not in the same geographic area, when there aren’t mediators available in the mediation parties’ geographic area, and during times of social distancing such as what is taking place due to COVID-19. Some common platforms for online mediation include Zoom and Skype. These platforms require a free download and camera and microphone features that are already part of most laptop computers, phones, and other devices. The online mediation meeting format is typically the same as if the meeting was happening in an office or conference room.
Cantafio & Song PLLC mediators are comfortable and skilled with these online platforms, and offer them as an option for conducting mediation depending on the circumstances.
If a court has ordered you to participate in mediation, Cantafio & Song PLLC mediators can help. Below is a list of all of our Attorney mediators. Schedule your mediation directly with the mediator that you select.