Common Questions about Mediation

What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a trained facilitator helps parties identify and discuss issues and develop solutions to problems, conflicts, or legal cases. The mediator is a neutral facilitator who helps the parties set the ground rules, identify the issues to be addressed, and create solutions. The mediator is not a judge and does not impose her ideas onto the parties. The mediator does not give legal advice or represent either party. Mediation is a process that helps the parties take control of their own situation, save time and money, and find a solution that works.

Should I get an attorney? Can the mediator be my attorney?
A party engaging in mediation may wish to consult with an attorney at any step of the process. You may meet with an attorney in order to fully understand your legal options or for advice on whether or not to mediate your dispute. You may even, in some circumstances, attend mediation with an attorney. If you have a legal case, the court may order you to attend mediation with out without your attorney or you may ask your attorney to request mediation. If you reach an agreement in mediation that requires implementation through a court order, you will most likely retain an attorney to draft the agreement. The mediator is a neutral person who cannot represent either or both parties in court. The mediator cannot draft any final agreements to be submitted to court, but the mediator can make a recommendation for a mediation-friendly attorney and will provide that attorney with an outline of the agreement reached.

What kind of cases can be mediated?
Many types of disputes, including those traditionally addressed in litigation can be addressed in mediation. I specialize in family law and family business disputes.

If I have a winning case, shouldn’t I just go to court?
Court is public, expensive, and tends to result in one-size-fits all results. No matter what the issue, you cannot guarantee what a court result will be. You may not win. Even if you win, the litigation battle may cost you a small fortune, a great deal of time, and a loss of privacy. Many cases, such as a divorce, do not result in a clear winner and loser. Even if you win in court, if you have an ongoing relationship, such as a divorce with children or a family business dispute, you may win the battle but lose the war if you have to live with increased hostility and animosity. In mediation, the mediator can help the parties frame the issues, set the ground rules for the discussion, and create a solution that lets everyone feel like they have won by reaching a result that works.

Are you a certified mediator?
I am a licensed attorney and a trained mediator. I am on the Cook County Domestic Relations Division’s list of approved mediators.

What is the benefit of mediation?
Effective mediation is efficient and produces positive results. Mediation can save both parties time and money. More importantly, it helps people find outcomes that are more creative and more beneficial than the standard options in court. Mediation is more private than court and allows people to keep their dignity while going through a difficult conflict.

Can you mediate very contentious situations?
Yes, mediation is not just for people who already are getting along! In mediation, we will set the ground rules necessary for your individual situation and address the issues specific to your conflict. No matter how contentious the parties are to begin with, there is a mediation process that can bring them to the table to work out the best options for all involved.

Can you mediate very complicated cases?
Yes, mediation is the best option for very complicated cases. It allows parties to gather all of the information they need without the costs and delays of traditional discovery. It allows parties to create the best possible solutions for complicated situations. It allows parties to find creative and effective solutions, that would be cost prohibitive, or simply overlooked in a traditional court setting.