A Dedicated Facility for Resolving Cases

By Steve Dunn, Mediator & Arbitrator 

As a young lawyer, I thought mediation was often a waste of time. If the case could be settled, I reasoned, the lawyers should be able to do it themselves. I give you my bottom line and you take it or leave it. Why spend time and money on some mediator to carry offers back and forth when we could easily do it ourselves by telephone? 

 

It took me years to realize the mediation process itself is essential in resolving disputes. Ever since, I have worked to understand why this is so. There are many reasons, but the physical environment of mediation is a big one. With the opening the Charlotte office of Miles Mediation & Arbitration, we are particularly excited to offer a comfortable, modern space solely dedicated to dispute resolution.   

 

In every part of life, we dress a certain way and travel to a certain place to accomplish a certain thing. We put on our Sunday best and go to church to worship. We put on our team colors and go to the stadium to watch the game. Birthdays mean streamers and candles and cake. Conferences are at hotels in fun cities. Thanksgiving is at Grandma’s. In these and countless other ways, the threads of set and setting are woven into our experience and sense of purpose.    

 

Mediation is no different. Miles is a place for settling cases.  

 

Everyone involved in mediation at Miles, when they get dressed in the morning, drive to the office, and press buttons for the elevator, are oriented toward the common goal of settlement. The location, like the mediator, is neutral.

Everyone passing in the hall, everyone getting a latte, is there to settle a case.

 

 

The energy of the space, electric with hope and possibility, frames the parties’ minds for success, enhancing the probability of resolution. 

 

Contrast this with the alternatives. 

 

How many times has a plaintiff endured an opening session in the same conference room where her deposition was taken the day before? How often are parties left alone while the lawyers disappear to tend to other business? Is one side or the other calling the shots? Is someone making it hot in here on purpose?  

 

Let’s face it. Courtrooms are for trials and hearings. Law firms are for litigating. Each has its role, but neither exists for settling cases. A dedicated dispute resolution facility may not guarantee settlement of every case, but it eliminates distractions that can cause mediation to get off track before it even begins.   

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a full-time mediator at Miles Mediation & Arbitration, Steve Dunn handles complex business and labor and employment disputes. Steve is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.