Happy New Year!
As we saw very clearly over the past 12 months, everyone may not always agree on everything. But if there’s one thing I believe most of us likely can agree upon, it’s that we’re all glad to ring in the New Year and say good-bye to 2020.
Traditionally, New Year’s brings resolutions: Pledges to lose weight, cut bad habits, make an important career move, or take other steps to improve our lives.
Consider adding one more item to your New Year’s resolutions: Reducing conflict and stress in your life.
2020 was universally stressful for everyone, and I think we’re all ready to decompress.
As an attorney, I can tell you one of the most stressful experiences most people will ever face is going through litigation.
I firmly believe that’s because in many ways, litigation is the ultimate form of conflict. And in our current environment, litigation has become more stressful than ever.
If you find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit in 2021, mediation can help by significantly reducing conflict allowing you to find a fair result without the stress of litigating in court.
Litigation vs. Mediation
Think about it: Litigation is fundamentally an aggressive process which often results in one side winning and the other side suffering a crushing defeat.
With high stakes and pressure to win, stress should be expected considering that the two sides are committed to going head-to-head, each continuing the conflict and working toward beating the opposition.
The pressure is protracted and intense, and it only increases over time.
But there is another option: Mediation.
In mediation, each side of the conflict works with an experienced mediator to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to the issue or issues at hand.
The foundational principle in mediation is that everyone involved is going to work together to resolve the dispute – not necessarily as Us vs Them.
At its heart, mediation is built on a positive energy; the idea that we can work together to resolve conflicts and move forward less stressed and more satisfied than had we gone through a lengthy court battle.
Elements of a Successful Mediation
There are two elements to a successful mediation: An experienced mediator and a commitment on the part of both side to the mediation process.
An experienced mediator knows the importance of understanding the source of conflict and takes the all-important step of getting to know each party’s concerns and priorities.
Effective mediators are also skilled communicators, have excellent de-escalation skills and are persuasive in keeping both sides “on board” with their commitment to resolve their conflict through mediation.
The opposing parties must buy into the process and value the benefits of working together to reach an agreeable and mutually beneficial resolution to the problem at hand.
A positive attitude goes a long way in the journey to avoiding conflict and finding an agreeable solution, but this takes commitment on the part of both sides of the conflict.
The Benefits of Reducing Conflict Through Mediation
Eliminating conflict by turning to mediation offers you a number of benefits.
With dockets in many courthouses backlogged for months due to Covid-19 related closures, resorting to litigation means you may be under the stress of that litigation for months at best, or years at worse.
Time is money, and mediation can reach a resolution much more quickly.
If you’re on the losing end of a protracted litigation, you may well have spent hundreds of hours (not to mention thousands of dollars) working with attorneys rather than running or growing your business, spending time with family or other productive uses of your time.
Mediation often brings both sides together in just a few meetings and sometimes can resolve a dispute in a single session!
This means you’ll spend less time and capital on conflict and more time on positive pursuits.
In closing, I want to wish you a happy, successful and prosperous 2021. And I sincerely wish you less stress, fewer conflicts, more harmony, more joy and more peace in the coming year.
Contact KIM L. KIRN to learn more about ADR, including virtual mediation offerings.