The mediator's role is very different from the lawyer's role, and mediation is not appropriate for all cases.
Mediation is an out-of-court (Alternative Dispute Resolution, or "ADR") settlement process that affords the parties the opportunity for more confidentiality, more self-determination, less acrimony, and often greater efficiency than standard litigation. It is important that you identify which service you are seeking when you call.
Some people who have gone through litigation complain that they do not feel they have been "heard". The courtroom atmosphere is formal, and lawyers and witnesses are constrained by the rules of evidence and procedure.
Sometimes clients feel that this forum does not allow for the airing of interests and viewpoints as they would like. In mediation, however, we give parties the opportunity to air their feelings and views more freely, and then work on developing possible solutions. I find that often people are better able to "get down to business" once they really have been heard.
In addition to my legal training, I am a Certitified Mediator in Domestic Relations. This means I completed an intensive internship program with the Pierce County Center for Dispute Resolution, have many hours of practical experience, and I continue to attend seminars devoted to litigation and mediation issues involving Family Law matters. I am a member of the Washington Mediation Association and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and my goal, as a mediator, is to to direct the parties' energies toward more positive communication, and to facilitate a creative agreement that both parties construct themselves, avoiding a court-imposed decision. As a mediator, I maintain balanced communication with both parties. As a lawyer, I usually represent and advocate for one party, not both. Sometimes I act as mediator and the drafter of legal documents to formalize the agreement and finalize the dispute. In those instances, I ask the parties to consult with separate legal counsel, and acknowledge in writing that they have been given that opportunity.
Washington Mediation Association