By Megan Weddle, Stowers & Weddle PC
When is mediation too early? Should mediation be attempted prior to the completion of discovery? What are the benefits of early dispute resolution? Author John Lande believes that engaging in dispute resolution at the “earliest appropriate time” is beneficial with planning.
Perhaps we have participated in mediation that was unsuccessful because it truly was too early. Time was spent sharing information and educating the opposing party during the process only to come to a screeching halt when crucial information could not be obtained that day. By waiting until all discovery is completed and trial preparation is underway, we resolve the issue of information, but do we polarize parties who are now entrenched in their positions and who have invested so much in time and money in the process that they should just “go to court”?
In this article on his blog “Indisputably”, Lande posits that there is a balance to be achieved. With planning and education in the process, early mediation can keep costs down, parties happier and dockets less crowded. Courts certainly are moving in the direction of encouraging or requiring dispute resolution. The dreaded case management plan, though not always enforced in state court, is intended to help counsel and parties identify issues, share information and discuss resolution earlier in the case. Local family law rules require exchange of financial information without formal discovery. Education of attorneys and parties, both corporate and individual, is necessary for the benefits of early dispute resolution to be realized.
Read more about this in the full article here.
This post was written by Megan Weddle of Stowers & Weddle PC. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section page, please email Rachel Beachy at firstname.lastname@example.org.