The attorneys at Fischel | Kahn frequently use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques to help resolve conflicts. They serve as counsel for parties in those disputes, or, often, as a third-party neutral. ADR includes, among other tools, arbitration, mediation, and the collaborative process (used mostly in domestic relations matters). Although those processes differ from each other, they also differ significantly from traditional litigation.
In many situations, the parties in conflict will continue to have a relationship after the conflict is resolved—perhaps they have children together, perhaps they are siblings, or perhaps they have business interests together. Mediation is a very effective tool for resolving conflict in a way which allows the parties to move forward in a healthy, although modified, relationship. In mediation, the parties are much more in control of the outcome than in traditional litigation, and they can think creatively about workable, long-term solutions.
As a party, being prepared for mediation is different than being prepared for a trial. The mindset you need to go into a mediation session with is not ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ but thinking about your interests—why do you want what you want? Often, thinking about why will allow the parties to achieve the goal through an alternative means.
Deborah Jo Soehlig represents clients in commercial, probate, and real estate ADR, as well as litigation. She also serves as an arbitrator in commercial matters. She will be co-presenting at an ISBA seminar this spring on preparing parties for mediation.