Mediation

“Seek first to understand…then to be understood” — Stephen Covey

Generally, pre-trial ADR means mediation. Colorado statutes distinguish between a “mediation” (generally, negotiation between two or more parties facilitated by a neutral) and a “settlement conference” (similar, but the neutral is empowered by statute to offer evaluation on the merits). C.R.S. §13-22-302 (2.4) and (7).

Mediation: Similar to negotiation, but conducted by a neutral, who generally acts as a facilitator and refrains from offering evaluations of the merits. Mediation is a voluntary method of ADR that allows parties to craft their own solution to a dispute. Mediators cannot impose decisions on disputing parties; rather, they encourage disputing parties to find common ground and resolve their dispute on their own terms.

Settlement Conference: Colorado statutes distinguish between a “mediation” (generally, negotiation between two or more parties facilitated by a neutral) and a “settlement conference” (similar, but the neutral is empowered by statute to offer evaluation on the merits). C.R.S. §13-22-302 (2.4) and (7). BarrADR uses the two terms interchangeably. Often, when prior attorney-driven negotiations have stalled, a fresh look and opinion from an expert neutral can jump-start settlement discussions.

There has been a long-standing academic debate about settlement style–is transformative mediation “better” than evaluative? Is “facilitative” mediation the only “real” mediation? Barr believes the “best” method is to use all the arrows in the quiver. Barr promises to engage in unbiased, thoughtful, principled and creative problem solving techniques that develop trust in the process and promote settlement.