What is Mediation?

What is mediation?

Mediation  is  a  process  during  which  a  specially  trained  impartial,  neutral  person,  the  mediator,  helps disputing  parties  (1)  communicate  their  positions  on  issues,  (2)  ensure  that  all  points  of  view  are considered,  and  (3)  explore  possible  solutions.  The  mediator  assists  in  reconciliation,  settlement,  and/or creating understanding between parties.

The  parties  in  mediation  are  the  only  ones  who  have  the  power  to  decide  whether  or  not  to  agree  to  a settlement; the mediator has no power to impose a resolution.

Benefits of mediation include:

  • Mediation  is  orchestrated  in a fair  and  even-handed  manner  in  a  relaxed  yet  business-like atmosphere by the mediator, to minimize stress and emotional trauma for all concerned. 
  • Mediation  provides  for  the  individual's  personal  involvement by  allowing  him  or  her  a chance to "process" the issues in their own minds and come to a personal resolution.
  • Mediation allows the parties to retain control  over the outcome;  the  mediator controls  only the process, the parties control the settlement agreement outcome. 
  • Mediation  allows  parties  uninterrupted  time  to  state  positions  and  speak  to  the  issues,  and provides a platform to express emotions, frustrations and underlying concerns. 
  • Mediation focuses on feelings and interests rather than on just law and facts. The parties also settle  disputes  and  comply  with  agreements  because  they  want  to,  not  because  they  are forced to do so. 
  • Mediation  is  future  based;  what  can  be  done  to  resolve  this  dispute  and  possibly  prevent such disputes in the future? 
  • Mediation is cost effective and costs significantly less than a jury trial. It is also less costly emotionally, than allowing a conflict to go unresolved.
  • Mediation is expedient and timely.
  • Mediation  is  a  confidential  and  voluntary  process.  The parties  have  nothing  to  lose  and everything to gain -- it's win/win situation. 
  • Mediation  generally  produces  a  favorable  outcome  and  a  high  degree  satisfaction  of  all parties involved.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is a process in which an impartial third party or panel meets with the parties, listens to presentation of both the facts and the law, and then renders a decision. An Arbitrator’s judgment is usually binding, however, in some circumstances parties may agree prior to arbitration, whether or not the decisionwill be binding.
Arbitration differs from mediation in that parties inArbitration give the power to decide, to the Arbitrator.

How much does it cost?

McLennan County Civil disputes where one or more parties have retained an attorney, and/or a lawsuit has been filed:
  • $150.00 per party, half-day (4hours or less)
  • $200.00 per party, full-day (up to 8 hours)
Family Law disputes where one or more parties have retained an attorney, and/or a lawsuit has been filed:
  • $200.00 per party
  •  $50.00 per party, half-day (4 hours or less)
  • $75.00 per party, full day (up to 8 hours)
Because McLennan County filing fees are part of the Center’s financing, cases filed outside McLennan County pay an additional $100.00 per party.
A surcharge may be assessed on cases where the amount in controversy is more than $50,000 and/or the complexity of the case warrants a surcharge.
Scheduling fees must be paid in advance and are non-refundable.
Where economic necessity can be demonstrated scheduling fees may be reduced. Contact the DRC for information.
*Fees subject to change; contact the DRC for further information

What if we can'’t come to an agreement?

If the parties cannot reach a settlement, they still have the option of seeking other legal remedies – you do not lose any of your options by participating in mediation.

Mediation vs. Litigation




Accessibility: Months or possible years Usually days or weeks
Cost: Significant cost in terms of both time and money Comparatively nominal
Preparation: Trial preparation is expensive, time consuming and costly Should be thorough, but is much less time consuming and costly
Risk: Is a Win/Lose situation. Each party's fate is taken out of their hand and placed into the hands of the judge and jury Normally results in a Win/Win outcome with the parties mutually agreeing to a resolution that each is satisfied with. The process is risk free. It's completely confidential and if there is no resolution, the parties still have every legal remedy available to them.
Focus: The focus is primarily on the facts and the law. The focus is on the parties' respective positions, issues, interests and emotions. All points of view are considered.
Procedure: Trial procedure is highly structured and for most parties, stressful and traumatic. Is more informal and relaxed. Less threatening and stressful. Allows parties the opportunity to freely express themselves.
Results: Normally produces a winner and a loser resulting in at least one party being dissatisfied and unhappy. It is not uncommon for all parties involved to be less than satisfied with the outcome. Generally, produces a favorable outcome with a high degree of satisfaction on the part of all parties with both the process and the results. Nationally, approximately 75% of all cases submitted to mediation result in an agreement between the parties.

What do I have to lose?

The simple answer is almost nothing. If an acceptable settlement agreement is not reached through mediation, the parties and their attorneys will have expended a minimum amount of time and money. However, this loss is generally very minimal and information gathered in preparation for mediation will be useful later in trial preparation. The success or failure of a mediation session cannot always be measured solely by whether or not the parties "settle" their case. Rather, if significant progress is made, if issues are limited, if either, or both parties gain a more realistic view of the case, then the mediation process has been successful.