Why Consider Mediation?
The American legal system exists to resolve disputes between parties, as fairly and durably as possible. While we often imagine trial by jury as exemplifying this dispute resolution process, American leaders and jurists from Abraham Lincoln to Sandra Day O’Connor have emphasized that trials should be solutions of last resort – and that a conflict should go before a court only after more collaborative, less expensive options for compromise have been exhausted.
Oftentimes, mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is the optimal method by which Texans can realize their objectives. At The Hetherington Law Firm, collaborative law attorney G. Riley Hetherington III is committed to helping Houston clients achieve their goals efficiently and cost-effectively through mediation and ADR. Contact The Hetherington Law Firm today for details.
Understanding Alternative Dispute Resolution In Texas
The 1987 Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures Act governs ADR practice in our state. The Act encourages disputants to resolve their disagreements through means other than lawsuits, and enables disputants to initiate ADR before, during, or late in the litigation process.
In ADR, disputants attempt to settle their differences outside of court. Their communications and negotiations are confidential, enabling them to speak honestly in pursuit of a mutually-acceptable compromise. This is in contrast to litigation, in which court proceedings are a matter of public record. ADR can therefore be especially appealing to parties engaged in sensitive estate disputes, or to parties who are hoping to preserve a personal, business or real estate relationship.
Disputants who choose to begin ADR do not forfeit their right to a trial. Even in court-ordered ADR, parties are not obligated to reach a settlement. They may initiate or resume a lawsuit at any time.
Understanding The Mediation Process In Alternative Dispute Resolution
Mediation is a structured and disciplined form of ADR. In mediation, a trained facilitator – often a certified attorney – acts as a “mediator,” guiding discussion of differences and goals between disputants. Mediation creates a controlled, cooperative environment in which parties can frankly articulate their frustrations and objectives, with the mediator identifying opportunities for compromise.
A mediator is a neutral arbiter, who takes pains to avoid favoring any party in a dispute. While mediation presents parties with a forum in which they negotiate directly with one another, parties may choose to hire their own lawyers to join them in the mediation sessions. However, even when parties retain their own counsel for mediation, mediation frequently results in parties reaching satisfactory settlements, as they are able to resolve their differences face-to-face.
Rely On Representation Committed To Your Satisfaction
G. Riley Hetherington III has practiced law in Houston since 1974. He knows Texas families and businesses, and has built his career guiding them toward their goals. When you need an lawyer who can provide skilled, solutions-focused representation through alternative dispute resolution and mediation, turn to The Hetherington Law Firm. Mr. Hetherington is prepared to serve as a neutral mediator, and to represent disputants through the mediation process.