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Mediation: What is it? (And Why?)

You have filed a lawsuit in your trust and estate litigation matter. You’ve done copious amounts of written discovery. There have been four or five depositions in your case, and the judge orders you to mediation. You look to your lawyer and say, “What is mediation?”

Mediation is a forum for you to settle your case, hopefully. Generally, mediation works well once discovery is completed or almost done. At that point, all of the facts are known in the case, or at least the facts that are in dispute are known at that time.

Mediation is a forum where typically a retired judge will work with both sides, in separate rooms, shuttling back and forth, as a diplomat would. The mediator tries to get both sides to compromise on certain points so that a settlement of the trust or estate lawsuit can be reached. If there is a settlement, the case can go away and there does not have to be a trial. That’s the reason our trust and will litigation attorneys do mediation. That’s the reason judges like mediation. The sweet spot for mediation is generally towards the end of discovery or when discovery is completed.