Mediation is a non-binding process in which a trained, professional neutral person assists parties involved in a dispute to negotiate effectively with each other. Mediation affords clients an opportunity to resolve complex problems in a confidential and efficient manner, often preserving important continuing relationships, dealing effectively with emotional issues or managing a dispute with a large number of parties. While mediation is almost always an option which parties to a dispute may jointly pursue, it is now frequently mandated by a number of courts before a case will be permitted to go to trial.
Mediation often allows for a more creative and satisfactory resolution than may be obtained in either litigation or arbitration. Sidley lawyers have represented clients in mediations administered by the growing number of independent organizations that provide mediation services. Among the kinds of cases in which we have successfully resolved disputes for our clients in a mediation forum are:
- complex commercial disputes where the interests of our clients include a favorable outcome while preserving an ongoing relationship with the other party to the dispute;
- employment workplace disputes, including multiparty class action disputes;
- environmental disputes with federal and state agencies to resolve, frequently involving the complex intersection of environmental law and science; and
- highly contentious securities and products liability litigation, frequently involving multiple parties with competing claims and interests.
In addition to firsthand experience gained at the mediation table, Sidley lawyers have been at the forefront of designing and implementing mediation programs in a number of different settings. One of the firm's partners helped found the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago. The Center mediates a wide range of disputes, and trains mediators used by the Cook County Circuit Courts. Lawyers with the firm have participated in crafting legislation for federal court mediation programs, and have created mediation programs for federal agencies. In addition, Sidley lawyers have participated as faculty members in training sessions sponsored by the American Bar Association and other organizations in the use of mediation and other non-binding ADR procedures for business disputes.
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