Mediation is an out-of-court settlement process. Mediators are experienced, neutral professionals who, in the context of divorce, facilitate an agreement that is acceptable to both spouses. Our attorneys participate in the mediation process to help divorcing couples achieve good outcomes in two different ways.
One: We are Appointed or Selected to be Neutral Mediators
Partners Jonathan Dana, Sarah Zimmerman, Katherine O’Rourke and Jennifer Davison and Senior Associate Emily Baker are trained to serve as neutral mediators and are often selected by attorneys from other law firms to mediate for their clients. Additionally, Jonathan Dana and Sarah Zimmerman are appointed by the DC Superior Court to mediate cases in litigation before the Court at a reduced rate. As mediators, FTLF’s attorneys work to help the two parties (who may or may not be represented by their own attorneys) to find mutually-agreeable solutions and to enter into a durable settlement agreement.
Providing creative, practical guidance that derives from our many years of experience in “thinking outside the box” in family law matters and assessing the likely range of outcomes in court, we help mediation clients achieve a result that addresses their most important priorities.
Two: We Counsel Our Clients When There is Another Mediator
All of our family law attorneys participate in the mediation process by advising and advocating for our clients when another professional is serving as the neutral mediator. In this situation, our role is an integral part of the total client representation.
Reaching Successful Outcomes Cost-Effectively
Whether to utilize mediation as part of the settlement process, who to select as the mediator, how to present the facts to the mediator, how to prepare a client for the mediation process – all of these require judgment, skill, and experience. Our Family Law attorneys have successfully used mediation as one part of a comprehensive strategy to bring cases to successful resolution in a cost-effective way.
In a recent case which had two protracted cases pending in court, one in the Family Division and the second in the Civil Division, our client said the following after the mediation process was successfully concluded, which summarizes the mediation process in a nutshell:
“Although I felt very apprehensive as we went into the mediator’s conference room, the mediator quickly put me at ease. He had read the confidential mediation memorandum prepared by my attorneys, and asked me several clarifying questions about what was most important to me. I felt I had been well prepared as to what to expect and what the strong points were of my case, and I was able to answer his questions without difficulty. Later in the process, when he asked me to compromise on certain issues, I consulted privately with my attorney and agreed to “give” on certain issues in order to achieve my most important goals. Although I didn’t get everything I wanted, I was glad to have the case over and was satisfied by the outcome. My attorney was terrific, guiding me every step of the way but leaving the ultimate decision to me.”