What is best – MEDIATING WITH OR WITHOUT LAWYERS?

Late Spring 2021 we started a video podcast series with Tye Bourdony, a Florida primary mediation trainer and  mediator in demand, bearing the title – “Mediating with or without lawyers”. In the video discussions Mac and I held together with Tye, based on ours and particularly Tye’s expertise, we showed examples of different cases how mediating with or without attorneys can work, focusing on different types of cases:

All of the videos can be watched conveniently here:

In our series with Tye Bourdony, we touched on:

Eviction and foreclosures

Family law issues

Divorce

Relocation

Immigration and International Travel concerning children

Parenting coordinators

Negotiating debt in small claims

Yet, to summarise, what are the advantages and disadvantages of mediating with or without them?

Advantages when mediating with attorneys:

  1. Gives a possibility of immediate legal advice in mediation
  2. Opens the possibility of another person’s creativity when presenting solutions
  3. Provides emotional support and comfort, gives courage and distance to the dispute
  4. Instant help when drafting a tailor made agreement 
  5. Might save costs if the case is settled in full or in part, making the possible court proceedings faster, and the court decision predictable.

Disadvantages of mediating with attorneys:

  1. There are instances, when attorneys are focused on feeding the conflict rather than extinguishing it, as they are usually ready to fight the case in the court
  2. On top of the mediator’s fee, the attorney gets the attorneys fees, so it might seem more expensive.
  3. Sometimes the attorneys place themselves in a position of an additional decisive body and not as an advisor, slowing  or hindering the process. 
  4. From time to time, attorneys in mediation try to take initiative and replace not only the party, but also a mediator…

Yet, all of it can depend on a specific type of case (and on an attorney, too!). Sometimes, the mediators have their preferences as well.

What is also possible, is a combination – legal advice before the mediation or during the mediation.

And answering the question being the title of this post – what is best? It is always best to stay informed, take into account the type of case you deal with, speak to the mediator and to the lawyer to help you establish what is best for you under the particular circumstances. 

In addition to being a international family law attorney, I am a Polish and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family mediator and Co-Founder of InstantMediations.com with a passion for technology and teaching.