The Akron Beacon Journal recently had an article which discussed mediation and its merits. Some excepts:
Look in the Akron Yellow Pages under ”attorneys” and you’ll find a section so thick it has its own color code.
Look under ”mediators” and you’ll find a grand total of six listings.
Read into that what you will, but it might explain why mediators scratch their heads and wonder why more folks drain their bank accounts chasing costly litigation when a thoughtful afternoon with a mediator might resolve their problem.
”With a third person present, it just changes things. People are able to talk things over,” said Bernard Winick, who teaches business law at the University of Akron.
”Usually people who go to mediation are aware of what happens when they go to litigation. That it costs a lot. That things can get out of hand with lawyers and courts making decisions for them rather than they themselves,” [mediator John] Bertschler said.
In mediation, the mediator doesn’t get a vote, so the two sides remain in control throughout the process.
”It’s much harder once you go to court. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube,” he said.
Still, so many businesses and individuals are not aware that mediation is even an option, Bertschler said.
Winick came to specialize in divorce mediation (where his legal background helped) but also handled some business cases (where his business experience shined.)
The stickier the situation, the more Winick loved trying to guide the parties to a creative solution. And it’s the calming influence of an objective counselor that can completely change the dynamics of the situation.
”A lot of people say, ‘We couldn’t seem to get anywhere, but when we’re at your office, it’s different,’ ” Winick said. ”I guess they feel safer, that someone is there to make sure the other person isn’t going to take advantage of them.”