As an attorney on
Long Island, many clients in my office went to Mediation prior to retaining counsel.
The clients complained that in the mediation process no one was advising
them of the law or a strategy for results that best fit their individual
needs. The truth is that a lawyer can offer you a very important service
that a mediator cannot; a professional who is advocating for your rights
and seeking to achieve a workable resolution that best fits you.
Mediation will not work if both parties are not equally committed to resolving
the issues and finalizing the Agreement. Sometimes parties come in with
Agreements which are not signed because the other party refused to sign
the finalized Agreement. After time spent to reach an agreement, one person
is left without anything finalized. Clients then come into the office
to commence proceedings feeling they wasted their time in mediation. Had
these clients started with an attorney from the beginning, the attorney
could have moved the matter through the court system while simultaneously
trying to negotiate a resolution. This way if no resolution is made the
matter would be well on its way in the court system.
Additionally, clients complain that all the mediator can do is draw up
the agreement and it is up to them to negotiate the terms of their agreement.
Therefore, it is up to you to negotiate for what you are entitled to under
the law. This can be a very complicated task. More over, it is quite possible
that one person's emotions may stand in their way of being rational,
and it is here that a lawyer can be useful.
For anyone still seeking mediation I would recommend first meeting with
an attorney to discuss your needs, learn the law, and create a strategy
to best achieve your goals. That way when you go to mediation you have
a better understanding of your entitlements. You may also want that lawyer
to review the mediated agreement before you sign it to make sure you truly
understand what you are signing.
If you are concerned about your legal rights and want to learn more please
contact our office.