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At Norbache-Goff, PLLC. we will be glad to schedule a 30-minute phone consultation for you with one of our attorneys or mediators free of charge.

This consultation provides:

  • An introduction to you about the Mediation process.
  • An opportunity to discuss the nature of your dispute and determine if mediation is the right process for its settlement.
  • An appropriate time to discuss any concerns or questions you might have about Mediation and your role in the process.
  • An opportunity to inquire about our fees.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), is a general term, used to define a set of approaches and techniques aimed at resolving disputes in a non confrontational and collaborative manner. It covers a broad spectrum of approaches, from party-to-party engagement in negotiations as the most direct way to reach a mutually accepted resolution, to arbitration and adjudication at the other end, where an external party imposes a solution. Somewhere along this continium exists "Mediation," a process by which a third party aids the disputants to reach a mutually agreed upon solution.

Mediation is an informal, private, voluntary and confidential process in which a Mediator who is an impartial and neutral party assists the disputants find a mutually satisfactory solution to their differences. Mediation allows people to speak for themselves, make their own decisions and be masters of the resolution of their conflict.

The formal procedures found in litigation or arbitration proceedings do not apply to the mediation process. There are no rules of evidence or set procedures for the presentation of facts or positions. Before mediation commences, the parties and the mediator agree upon the procedures that will be followed. Impartial mediators guide people through the process step-by-step. The absence of formality provides for open discussion of the issues and allows the free interchange of ideas. Thus, it becomes easier to determine the interests of the parties and to fashion a solution that satisfies those interests.

Most people who elect to mediate find lasting solutions to their differences. Mediation can lead to quick and satisfactory resolution of disputes without the expense and delays associated with litigation.

Mediation is neither therapy nor a "day in court." Rather, mediation provides a safe environment for the parties to air their differences and reach a mutually agreeable resolution of their conflicts.

A successful mediation results in a binding agreement between the parties. If mediation is unsuccessful and an agreement cannot be reached, parties may still pursue all legal remedies provided under the laws of their state, including litigation.

Representation by an attorney is permitted, but not required.

The Mediation Process: Joint Sessions and Private Caucuses

Mediation is a voluntary process. Either participant can end the mediation process at any time and no one can be forced to agree to anything against their will.

The parties meet with a mutually selected impartial and neutral mediator who assists them in the negotiation of their differences. Mediation typically involves one or more meetings between the disputing parties and the mediator.

Mediation generally begins as a joint session where the position and/or concerns of the parties are heard. The parties will set an agenda defining the issues they wish to address. This allows the parties to move forward in the resolution process on an issue-by-issue basis.

During the course of the mediation, the Mediator may meet separately with each individual party. This is referred to as a Caucus. This individual meeting allows each side to raise other issues of concern and/or elaborate upon their position on the issues discussed during the joint session in confidence. The Mediator may not reveal the information given in the private caucus during the joint session. A Caucus may be called by the mediator or requested by either party.

The Mediator's Role

In Mediation, the decision making power is totally and strictly invested in the parties. Mediators are NOT judges. Mediators may not give legal advice or interpret the law.
The mediator is a neutral and impartial person who does not decide who is "right" or "wrong", nor what is "equitable" or "unfair". Their role is to manage the process through which parties resolve their conflict, not to decide how the conflict should be resolved. The mediator acts as a facilitator between parties with opposing interests by moderating and guiding the process, assisting the parties to eliminate obstacles to communication and successfully define and negotiate a settlement of the issues that has created the conflict between the parties.

In sum, the mediator will:
  • Listen as you explain the issues of the conflict;
  • Ask questions to help you and the other party clarify and understand the issues;
  • Guide you through a process to develop solutions; and
  • Assist you in writing up an agreement that works for everyone involved.

Confidentiality of Proceedings

Mediation Process is strictly confidential except in cases involving child abuse, elder abuse, and credible threats of violence. The mediators will not give information shared in the mediation process to anyone outside the process.

At the outset of a mediation process, the mediator will require an agreement from the parties to hold everything that is said in the mediation sessions confidential. Aside from any agreement reached by the parties as a result of the mediation, the content of the mediation session is not admissable in any other proceeding.

To schedule a free telephone consultation, please call us at 253-838-5444 during our regular office hours, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST, or request a consultation appointment by email using the link below.

University Place, WA 253-653-9000
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is not legal advice. It is a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. For case specific legal advice, please contact our firm.
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