A majority of counties in South Carolina require mediation. Both state and federal courts now routinely require parties to participate in this process for a variety of reasons. Here are a few aspects of mediation for the plaintiff to remember:
I. At the beginning of a mediation, both parties and their lawyers will sit in an opening session. The attorneys will present their side of the case, while a neutral mediator listens to both sides. Both sides should listen to the other’s perspective and understand the attorney is being an advocate for their client.
II. Both parties will be very far apart in their initial settlement position. Both sides should be patient and understand that the finish line is a known settlement as opposed to the uncertainty of a jury verdict.
III. Mediation is a process that will test your patience! Most mediations will last between 3 and 6 hours. The mediator has to spend time with each side to gather information, understand the positions, and exchange demands/offers.
IV. Mediation only works with compromise. Parties rarely are "happy” with the resolution. Rather, the process requires people to make concessions to reach a fair deal.
Julian Allen is a certified court mediator and routinely represents people who are litigants in mediation. Please contact Allen Law if you have additional questions about the mediation process.