One common warning clients receive from their attorneys is that litigation is pricey. The back and forth between opposing counsels, hours spent drafting motions and then responses to said motions, etc. It’s true but not what I’m interested in discussing today.
Instead, I’m interested in drawing attention to another key benefit that mediation holds over litigation: a client’s agency in the outcome.
Clients expect to hear that going through the courts is expensive but they’re often surprised when you tell them the reality of how much control they give up by taking their matter in front of a judge. There are countless factors that go into the ruling process for a judge and while attorneys are trained to present the best case for their client, that’s really where the buck stops.
The position of the court is to come to a conclusion and move on. Subtleties are lost in a process where a judge has a responsibility to hear as many cases as they can. When possible, mediation empowers a client by keeping the decision in their hands. Yes, there is an opposing party and a conflict is clearly present for things to have gotten to this point. What’s worth considering is the role of the attorney in a mediation. Representation in court is about the story presented to the judge and which one they favor. The attorney uses their knowledge to speak on the client’s behalf for their case.
In mediation, it’s just as important that an attorney listens to their client and advocates for them to get what they need to move on with their life and put this conflict behind them. Resolution for both parties becomes the goal that both sides work towards rather than the tug of war that occurs in courts. To picture it, litigation is two sides pulling a judge as hard as they can towards their point of view and mediation is both sides working their way towards a middle ground.
It can seem daunting in some cases to imagine both sides coming to this mythical middle ground. My years of offering mediation services have proven otherwise. A client that wants a say in their resolution is always better served by mediation over a court battle.