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Role of the Lawyer in Mediation: Advocate to Advisor

November 20, 2012

Given the fact that during the mediation process the disputing parties are more active participants than in the traditional litigation setting, it begs the question of what is the role of an attorney throughout the mediation process. In the mediation process, the attorney can take more of an advisory role and be available to the party to answer questions and help in the preparation of the mediation.

During the pre-mediation phase, your attorney can explain the concept of mediation, the role of the mediator, the difference between the various forms of dispute resolution, and provide an overview of how the mediation process will be conducted.  Additionally, your attorney can provide you with an overview of relevant laws and their opinion about the range of outcomes related to your particular matter. The attorney can also help you gather the essential documents and information to assist in a productive mediation, as resolution of the matter may depend on a significant part on the completeness of the information provided to the mediator.  Moreover, the information received during the pre-mediation phase will afford you the ability to participate in the process in a more informed and knowledgeable manner.

During the course of mediation, your attorney can continue to offer their advice, guidance and information. Undoubtedly, you will have questions during the mediation process and your attorney will be there to answer them. Most importantly, an attorney can offer clarification on any issues that may be confusing and ensure your understanding of the benefits and risks of specific proposals.

After coming to an agreement between both parties, your attorney can prepare the documents that are required. Once the mediation has been concluded and a resolution reduced to writing, an attorney can review the document before signing and finalizing.  It is always prudent to have an attorney involved in any mediation process.  There are numerous occasions during the process that the advice and guidance of an attorney will be beneficial.  Oftentimes, it may mean the difference between a successful or an unsuccessful mediation.

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