Sloan Bobrick, P.S., Attorneys, University Place, WA

Mediation Services

Why Mediate?

By Philip R. Sloan

For the entire 34 years I have practiced law, I have specialized in civil litigation. Although with decreasing frequency over the years, the bulk of my work has involved getting prepared for trial; taking depositions, answering interrogatories, flyspecking records, writing briefs and arguing pretrial motions. I had my first jury trial in 1970 after being in practice for only a couple of months. Back then, lawyers in my first firm were expected to try at least 10 jury trials per year. It took a only a few months to get a trial date. Now it typically takes more than a year. Today, our courts require strict compliance with their case schedules and then usually cannot accommodate the parties when the trial date finally arrives, which results in the process being much more expensive and very frustrating.

I still specialize in litigation and still find nothing more professionally exciting than going into trial before a jury, but I have not had a jury trial in over 4 years.

Why? Because, beginning about 15 years ago, T have mediated virtually all of my cases, whether I represent the plaintiff or the defendant and almost all of the cases have settled, sometimes literally within days after commencement of the litigation instead of the months or even years the trial process can take.

Why mediate? Because, by and large, I believe that the traditional system for civil trials is broken. The expense, delay and angst of courtroom litigation have made the trial process impractical for almost all civil disputes. After a trial, there is a winner and a loser. The losers are always unhappy and the winners invariably feel that the process took too long and cost too much. Most importantly, if they mediate rather than litigate, the parties themselves determine how to resolve their dispute rather than submitting their disputes to strangers to the parties and the court system who are required to decide who wins and who loses after only a few hours or days to hear and evaluate evidence under a system of complicated and confusing rules.

With the assistance of a professional mediator, over 80% of all cases settle at the first session of a mediation, and of those that don’t, over half settle within two weeks thereafter. Settlements are based on compromise which means that generally no party hits the home run which sometimes happens with a jury, but on balance, the level of satisfaction of parties with the mediation process is so much higher than with trial results, that I predict that in the future, there will be fewer and fewer prolonged civil trials to resolve routine disputes.

Please call us today if you have any questions about mediation or if a mediation might be advantageous to you.