Civil mediation is a dynamic process that focuses on business disputes (contract, property, sales, etc.) but can also include commercial, international and labor disputes. For practical purposes, any mediation that involves a non-family transaction is classified as civil mediation (but there may be overlap with family business disputes and family business succession planning, which may also be classified under Family mediation).
Civil mediations can occur before parties file a lawsuit (voluntary), after parties file a lawsuit (voluntary or court referral) or pursuant to an active lawsuit (court mandated). Regardless of the timing of the mediation, the purpose is always the same, to provide parties with direct control over the settlement of their dispute.
Parties in civil mediations may be represented by attorneys but it is becoming more common for parties today to represent themselves. This is a function of the cost of litigation and the overall issue of access to justice for Americans. According to the ABA, 70% of the population cannot afford to hire attorneys to help resolve their disputes. But equally important in any access to justice analysis is that attorneys have little financial incentive to represent clients in “small financial disputes”.
The Knowledge Firm is committed to providing all Americans regardless of their ability to pay, access to dispute resolution mediation services.