When you are facing the prospect of a serious dispute or time-consuming litigation, you may have alternatives. Mediation in Texas can be a great way to resolve your dispute quickly and work through some of the difficult issues in the presence of a neutral third party. Depending on the nature of your conflict, you and your attorney may be able to sit down with the other side in front of a mediator and negotiate a mediation settlement agreement within a day or two instead of months or years, as it might take in litigation.
In this blog post, The Curley Law Firm team will explain the basics of mediation in Texas, including the average mediation duration, and what types of cases are best suited for mediation. As always, if you have a question about a Texas business dispute, be sure to contact our offices for a consultation and to see how we can help.
What is Mediation?
Mediation involves parties in dispute coming before a neutral third party, a mediator, who helps facilitate communication between the parties in hopes of reaching common ground. Mediators may not and do not infuse their own point of view into the dispute at hand. Instead, they act as neutral facilitators to help each side understand the other side’s position. A mediator may not disclose the other side’s position and must keep conversations confidential unless the parties agree otherwise.
How long does mediation take? To answer this question, it helps to clarify whether you are asking about the process of getting a case into mediation, or whether you are asking how long the session with a mediator lasts. A skilled attorney can help address both questions.
Length of Time to Get to the Mediation Table
How long mediation takes depends on the type of case and the parties. If mediation is required by contract, the parties can begin preparing for mediation immediately once a dispute arises. Speak with an experienced business mediation attorney about selecting mediators and the pros and cons of each potential mediator available for your case.
In other instances, like mediation in lieu of litigation, the parties may file paperwork to begin a lawsuit before agreeing to try mediation or being so ordered by a judge. In those cases, it can take longer to get in front of a mediator simply because there are more steps in the process.
Length of a Day of Mediation
How long does mediation last? Mediation can last between a half-day or a full day. By agreement of the parties, mediation can last much longer, often until late into the night. Most mediators try to have the parties come to an agreement within one day, however, for complex issues or multi-faceted disputes, sometimes mediators decide to allow mediation on each separate issue.
Different Types of Mediation in Texas
Almost any type of case can be mediated in Texas. Here are a few types of cases that commonly make their way to a mediator’s desk.
Mediation by Agreement
In Texas, any type of contract can require that the parties try to mediate a conflict before resorting to litigation. For instance, most form residential real estate leases in Texas now require the parties to try to mediate any issues before they can file a lawsuit.
Mediation in Lieu of Litigation
In other cases, the parties may not be required to mediate, but they can agree to do so. This often happens when a conflict seems insurmountable, but both sides agree to sit down with a neutral mediator to see if there is any way to resolve the issue before undertaking the hassle and expense of litigation. This is sometimes seen in employment law cases or where both parties prefer to keep embarrassing facts out of the public record but cannot come to a private resolution on their own.
Since mediation is typically quicker than litigation, one of the significant benefits it offers is to reduce the cost of resolving a conflict. Even if you have to hire a mediator for a day, it’s still cheaper than paying an attorney for the many hours—often spanning weeks or months—that it will take to prepare your case for trial and usher it through the litigation process.
How The Curley Law Firm Can Help
Mediation can be a good option for resolving disputes, and an experienced attorney can help you learn more. Business disputes can get technical and complex. A knowledgeable attorney can guide you toward a mediator with business experience who will handle your dispute fairly and with the fair and practical eye your case deserves.Adam Curley is an experienced business law attorney and mediator. Adam’s extensive experience as a mediator allows him to successfully guide Texas entrepreneurs through the mediation process. Contact the Curley Law Firm today to learn more.