By Jedidiah McKeehan

So, I have explained previously the difference between an arbitration and a mediation.  But today, I want to talk about the specifics of what occurs during a mediation.

A mediation is essentially a meeting that takes place between the parties (the people involved in the lawsuit) prior to trial in order to discuss and determine if they can come to a resolution of the case.  The way this “meeting” happens is that the parties do not actually see each other but stay in different rooms with their attorneys while a mediator, who is an attorney with specialized training in mediation, goes back and forth between the rooms discussing various issues and seeing if the parties can reach an agreement.

This may sound very strange, but it is insanely effective.  The vast majority of cases which go to mediation end up settling.  The parties are kept in separate rooms instead of talking in one room together because when people hear the other person talk they usually get angrier and more dug in to their position instead of being more willing to work towards an agreement in the middle.

The mediator has no authority to make a decision on whether someone is being unreasonable or reasonable or whether they will get what they are requesting, but they can offer insights on what they have seen happen before and what may be a possible solution to a controversial point.

The goal is to walk out of the mediation with an agreement signed by both parties that concludes the case.  What attorneys often tell their clients in regard to mediation is that they may not love the outcome, but they will know what the outcome is and if they go to trial, they have no idea how a judge will rule, which is true.  Most people would much prefer an outcome certain rather than going through the uncertainty, not to mention the stress, of a trial, and that is why mediation occurs in a large number of cases.

There is one exception to this, mediations do not occur in criminal cases, only in civil cases such as car wreck cases and divorce cases.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.