Mediation is a voluntary, collaborative, confidential process by which people who are in conflict resolve their disputes peacefully, with the help of a highly trained, neutral, conflict resolution professional.
No. As a mediator, I help you find your own solution to your conflict and will never take sides. The mediator is not a judge or a jury and will not issue a ruling, decision, or verdict of any kind. I will remain strictly neutral throughout the mediation.
Yes. Mediation is a confidential process. I will not disclose anything that is discussed in the mediation to anyone without the written permission of all the participants. Participants will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition of mediation. Statements made during mediations cannot be used for or against any of the participants in future proceedings such as hearings or trials.
Yes. While mediation is a confidential process, there are some situations when I may disclose statements made during a mediation, such as: (1) when I witness, or have reason to believe, that a Participant in the mediation is a threat to him/herself, or any other person, or to the property of others; (2) when I witness, or have reason to believe, that a child is at risk or endangered pursuant to the child protective protocol of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (3) a fraudulent statement or document is presented in mediation and relied upon by a Participant in reaching an agreement; or (4) a Participant institutes a suit or ethics complaint against me as relates to the mediation and I need to disclose information from the mediation for my own defense.
No. Although I am a licensed attorney, I do not represent any of the participants and you should not rely on anything I say as legal advice.
As a mediator, I am ethically bound by the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators and Recommended Guidelines adopted by the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators. (https://www.pamediation.org/recommended-guidelines.htmlby). The cornerstone of these standards is the obligation to remain neutral and impartial throughout the mediation and to always treat the participants with respect and fairness. Ultimately, it will be up to the participants to decide whether I lived up to this standard and they will have the opportunity to provide their candid feedback during and after the mediation.
It depends. Relatively straightforward disputes between two participants can often be resolved in as little as two hours. Very complex mediations involving numerous participants and multiple issues often require several sessions spanning many hours over several days. Each mediation is unique. I will do my best to keep the process going as long as necessary to meet the needs of the participants. Participants are always free to withdraw from mediation if they feel the process can no longer meet their needs. Similarly, I would terminate the mediation if I felt the process was no longer meeting the participants’ needs.
Mediations can be in person or virtual depending on the needs of the participants and the mediator. Mediations will be conducted virtually when doing so is recommended by federal, state or local health authorities during the CoVID-19 pandemic. When those authorities allow for in-person mediations, we may convene in person at a mutually convenient place and time.
No. To maintain confidentiality and privacy, I will not record the mediation sessions and will not permit the participants to do so.
Mediation is always voluntary. Participants may terminate the mediation at any time, for any reason. While I may encourage participants to continue with mediation, I cannot and will not attempt to force it. The mediation will remain confidential even if a participant or I elect to terminate it.
If you reach an agreement through mediation, I will help you memorialize it in a written document called a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This document will help you understand what you have agreed to and to fulfill your commitments to each other going forward. If, after the mediation, one participant feels the other has failed to honor the MOU, the participants may return to mediation to try to resolve this dispute. Participants should note that the MOU might not be enforceable in court and might not be admissible in subsequent administrative hearings, court proceedings and other such venues.
I will ask each participant to complete a confidential questionnaire prior to the mediation that only I will read. The questionnaire will ask about the nature of the dispute, the participants’ underlying interests and alternatives, what the participants have tried to do to resolve the dispute, and what the parties understand about each other’s interests and perspectives. It will also ask what the participants hope to accomplish in mediation. Participants will find it helpful to think about these questions beforehand. The mediator will not share this document with the other participants.
Please notify me in advance of the mediation if you require accommodations. I will do my very best to provide those accommodations whenever possible.