Your Mediator is committed to the goal of arriving at agreements and resolution which are acceptable to both parties. Mediators facilitate communications to help parties arrive at greater understanding of their own perspective as well as the perspective of the other party.
Mediators do not make decisions for the parties, nor do they champion any individual cause. Rather, they help parties in negotiations and brainstorming alternate proposals and ideas, while creating ad forum of respect.
Mediators are trained in conflict resolution methods and skillful communications. They can facilitate both the articulation and listening for each party in a way that improves teh quality of communication and brings parties closer to agreements and resolutions.'They are often defined as a "neutral third party" and as a professional in this role, they support parties to come to a resolution through the mediation process.
It is important to understand that your Mediator is "neutral" as they facilitate your process, that is "impartial" or "unbiased." When working with a mediator, you will feel supported that your wants and needs are heard, your goals clarified, and - the same is upheld for the other party(ies).
Your professional "Neutral" supports each party to clarify their own interest it and communicate it effectively, can validate the feelings and experiences of each party...while simultaneously working for the goal of resolution and taking no "side" of the conflict during the process.
As your mediator is a "Neutral", they would not advise either party in any direction. However, they will employ specialized methods that do guide the manner of the discussion and the process of thought that can best nurture the possibility of full resolution.
The Mediation forum requires the parties to participate voluntarily. Your mediator is an Alternative Dispute Professional and can support the parties to resolve their conflict in a non-adversarial, if not fully amicable, manner. An Attorney takes the position of protection and advise for the interest of ONE party. Your Mediator works for the interests and needs of all parties being met sufficiently within a shared Agreement. Parties in mediation play an active role at the resolution and Agreements of their own case, and are in-charge of the Agreement, together, that can be drafted.
Hiring a Lawyer for your case does continue the nature of an adversarial conflict, and if it proceeds to court, then the court becomes in charge of the resolution. In this way the parties are no longer directing the outcome, rather they are pushing for their own side to "win."
Mediation works on the premise of a cooperative resolution is possible, even in heated disputes and the Mediator facilitates those parties in methods to arrive there. Note that in some cases Attorney consults for each party for advising, will be appropriate. And, in these cases using an Attorney familiar with the collaborative process for those consults is best.
If your Mediator is also an Attorney (as Michael Travers is) they will still largely play the role of the Mediator in each meeting. They will not be working for either party as Attorney, obviously, and they will not be offering advising to either party during the process. They can, however, offer information about legal procedures which might be informative to both parties, when needed. They can also draft legal agreements and complete court forms and paperwork on behalf of the parties at that stage of the Mediation process.
A mediator who is also an Attorney is both ethically and legally bound to not represent either party in any other venue where the same conflict might be taken, such as through legal and court proceedings.
When working with a mediator who is not a lawyer, a lawyer may be included in parts of the mediation process for consultations, or, drawing legal documents.
Typically, yes. That is, the hourly rate for Mediation is typically less than the hourly for an Attorney, and in a dispute, two Attorneys are employed (one for each party). In mediation, the fee is divided between the parties.
In general, the route of mediation is overall a much more cost effective method for resolving disputes.
In addition, in our practice we sometimes have the opportunity to offer "Junior" Mediators for our clients to inquire with, and their fees typically offer sliding scale rates to assist those with financial hardship situations.
Collaboration is a shared commitment to working productively together. Further, the goal is in common among all participants to form agreements and advance a conflict to resolution. All involved, including both clients, both attorneys and any other professionals, agree to work as a team.
We understand that conflict, of any degree, is sensitive and vulnerable territory for anyone. Even when needing to express and/or address the hard stuff, we are professionals who can navigate and guide through those waters.
LEGAL PROTECTION WITH DIGNITY & TEAM SUPPORT
There are some fundamentals that greatly distinguish Collaborative Law from conventional law practices. Firstly, all involved (parties and attorneys) sign an agreement that excluded from the realm of options is for the attorney to go to court for his client. The court option gets ruled out from the start. the process must continue with all non-adversarial routes possible until resolution of the case.
The participating attorneys are as well agreeing to not do anything that makes the process more adversarial, and moreover, to use astute facilitation methods to reduce any adversarial dynamics in this proceeding in any way possible. There is solid support and guidance from the professionals in the meeting room for the clients to work in an efficient, goal-oriented direction.
While a relatively new development in the legal field, attorneys who practice collaboratively are extremely well informed, extensively educated and have a unique commitment to doing this collaborative legal work.
For collaborative law to be effective beginning to end, both parties do need to hire collaborative lawyers.
THE 4 KEY POINTS FOR THIS ARE:
1. ATTORNEYS can no longer participate if case starts to go to court
2. ATTORNEYS UPHOLD A COMMITMENT to not threaten the other side with what the Judge "would or would not go for" as a way of intimidation. This strategy would be used frequently in typical litigation whenever they don't like what other party is asking for, for instance.
3. LAW IS DISCUSSED more the way you study law than how the average Attorney practices. In school, we study an issue and are presented the diverse possibilities of outcome for the issue and the reason behind those possibilities. In the average Lawyer's strategy, information and angles of possibilities are presented as if there is no uncertainty. Collaborative Layers stand in a position of vastly more transparency. They are more frank with their knowledge and accurately layout all possibilities. In litigated cases, typically the Attorney uses strategy tries to define an outcome and takes that specific direction.
4. THE INTEGRATION OF other neutral professionals into the case for discussion, information, guidance and support. All professionals plan as a team in advance with details such as: how to set up the meetings, strategize the timing of when to address items, and research and gather information that is needed before items are substantively discussed. Also, an agenda is circulated in advance of meetings.
We use methods to help clients express their true needs. And, to understand that sometimes how we express "need" can be offensive and thus become counter to getting to agreement. Our methods of discussion and facilitation allow clients to express "needs" in a way that get us more swiftly to understanding and later to agreement.
Team building is another major aspect in our methods. Collaborative law in Colorado especially emphasizes involving neutral professionals to help everyone work collaboratively on disagreements as they come up. Mediators will be involved. In cases that involve complex financials, we always use a neutral financial professional. They are at the center of gathering all financial information and work on the case, so that process is in the hands of someone who has no allegiance to either party at all. If child custody is involved, for example, we would likely include a neutral" Child Specialist."
Collaborative Law starts with the same intention as mediation. That is, how can we help those involved not use an adversarial court proceeding to get their case done, and do it more constructively instead.
With a collaborative team of professionals, yes, clients could expect to stay out of court.
Your particular situation determines how much process, if any small amount, needs to be done in court. With collaborative law, both attorneys sign an agreement to NOT take the other party involved to court and to not represent their own client in a court setting in this case. This is binding and a necessary prerequisite to beginning a collaborative law case
You will be part of the formation of a unique team of professionals working together. This team includes both attorneys and a neutral third party, at least.
Expect to have your needs, wants and perspectives requested and respected.
You could expect to face the challenges of your case, maybe even more directly than prior, but while having this team of professionals facilitating effectively for all parties.
There is likely to be a lot of discussion and negotiation involved. It might be passionate, even strong. We do not try to pretend; we cannot make people feel easy about something that is hard. We facilitate the upholding of the shared commitment to express disagreements respectfully, and to listen respectfully.
Attorneys themselves will not join in any disrespectful communications when that tone might arise. They will not, as is common in convention, take the role of a "louder mouth piece" for their client. It is quite the opposite: they try to support communications to be effective.
Attorneys involved present in any authoritarian manner. If you cannot see your way to agree with an item in discussion, we help. We help people understand what is causing them to feel stuck on a non-agreement point.
We ask inquiring questions, for instance: What is important to you about this? What is at stake here? Usually what is at stake for both parties is not as adversarial as it seems. For instance, if we get to understand that the strategy beneath the named desire could be re-articulated as "to get to feel safe", most people would agree on that need.
The Collaborative Process requires the parties themselves to work, to be central to their own process. This does stand out as different than the typical conventional legal preceding. In that way, there could be more experience of emotions. But, also the professionals can facilitate those to be efficiently expressed and resolved.
We typically find a more complete resolution can be gained, and certainly less damage is done.