Mediation can be highly beneficial if you have a legal dispute that you want to settle amicably without a formal litigation process. But how many sessions do you need? Read on to find out more from Westover Law. 

How many sessions of mediation do you need?

Depending on the nature of the dispute as well as the number of participants, most parties generally require two to five sessions to reach an agreement.

In less complicated cases, parties may need only one session to conclude the mediation process. This makes it much more flexible than going to court, which can be a lengthy affair – between six to 12 months, and sometimes even longer.

How long is a mediation session?

There is no clear answer to how long a mediation session can take as it depends on several factors. However, typically, a session can last anywhere between two to four hours. Most mediators advise their clients to keep aside this time or maybe even a whole day as complex cases with witnesses and major conflicts between the parties can take a longer time to settle. If there is no settlement at the end of the session, an additional session is scheduled to complete the process.

Generally, a mediator follows six steps during the mediation process:

  1. Introductions: The mediator begins by introducing those present, rules of the mediation process as well as the goals that the session is looking to achieve.
  2. Opening statements: Next, both parties present their sides of the dispute without any interruptions.
  3. Joint discussion: In this stage, each party has an opportunity to directly respond to the other party’s opening statements to better understand their views.
  4. Private caucuses: If the parties are not comfortable or if their emotions are high, the mediator can split them into two separate rooms, also known as caucuses. Here, they can speak to the mediator privately.
  5. Negotiation: Next, the mediator begins the process of negotiations where parties can discuss and compromise to work towards a settlement.
  6. Closure: Lastly, once an agreement is reached, the mediator outlines the main clauses and provisions in writing, which are signed by both parties. If they are unable to reach an agreement, an additional mediation session may be scheduled.

How long does it take to schedule a mediation?

After the first meeting with the mediator, if both parties feel comfortable, they can schedule subsequent mediation sessions as schedules permit. 

For more information on the sessions of mediation and their workings, contact Westover Law today.