Private vs. ODR
Another question regarding the selection of a mediator is whether to go with a private mediator or to use an individual with the court’s Office of Dispute Resolution or “ODR”. Depending on the circumstances of your case, this will largely determine the appropriate choice. Private mediators tend (or at least are perceived), to be more effective than those retained through ODR. While this may or may not be true, this is often a consideration that comes up. Next, private mediators tend to be more expensive for their services. Depending on your financial situation, this may or may not be a significant consideration. Finally, private mediators tend to have some more flexibility in terms of availability; as they work independently, they may be able to be more accommodating with your scheduling needs.
Effectively Use an Attorney
Regardless of whether you use the services of a private mediator or one found through ODR, and irrespective of whether you select a mediator with specialized expertise, proper use of your attorney will be integral to your mediation. As with all aspects of your case, your attorney can help. Your attorney can provide you with information about the law, likely results at trial, the reasonableness of your position, and advocacy for your needs. In all of these situations, your attorney can help you to realize a successful outcome at mediation. So if you have an attorney, don’t make the mistake of “putting them on the bench” for mediation. There are concerns about the cost of using your attorney. More often than not, however, using the services of your attorney at mediation can make the difference between reaching a settlement or having to proceed to a contested hearing.