Working with Attorneys in Mediation

Mediation is often employed in response to life transitions that are also legal transitions.

Mediation clients have choices relative to participation of legal counsel (and any other knowledgeable experts). You may choose to have legal counsel participate…

  • Before beginning mediation to become educated about legal assumptions and to define the scope of legal representation that best meets your needs
  • As expert advisor during the mediation process
  • To review your mediated agreement (which may also include drafting a legally binding settlement agreement)

Why use an attorney?

  • Mediation and Law are distinct. Mediators may not provide legal advice or advocate for either client.
  • Having an independent attorney can be empowering, providing expertise and experience about legal assumptions. Individual representation by competent counsel provides assurance that all legal issues are explored and given appropriate consideration.
  • Having an attorney may afford greater confidence to make decisions in mediation, knowing that you have been fully informed and have received the perspective of one who is looking out for your interests.

Do not expect the law to provide certainty. Actual legal rights are determined by the decision of a judge. Consider how potential legal rights and personal values fit together.

Do engage an attorney who is well-versed in the relevant area of law and who has respect for the mediation process and your ability to make decisions.

Your attorney may provide new information or a different point of view. This is to be expected and should not undermine your confidence in yourselves, your intention to work together or in the mediation process. Attorney consultation is intended to provide information and support for clients to further the goal of making the best decisions.

Suggestions for meeting with your attorney:

Share information with your attorney about your intentions for the mediation process, what is important to you, as well as your understanding of what matters to the other participant(s).

Ask for suggestions that will strengthen your agreement while accomplishing your goals.

Ask about potential legal outcomes if that interests you.