Mediation has been around for a very long time.
The process allows all parties to come together in a non-judgmental environment where the mediator remains neutral. In this space all parties feel safe to share their interests and goals for a successful resolution. One of the key reasons parties are attracted to mediation is because it is private; what is discussed cannot be used in court.
The degree of success of a mediation is based on the level of transparency that all parties bring to the table. What usually attracts parties to mediation is the costs.
In a traditional process for resolving disputes each party hires a lawyer from the beginning and the parties stop communicating with each other. This process may result in going to court to resolve the dispute which will escalate costs. In mediation the parties share in the cost for the mediator. The cost depends on the number of meetings and the level of the cooperation of all parties, as well as the complexity of the dispute.
The agreement that is reached in a mediation is referred to as the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The parties take the MOU to their lawyers for review and a legal document is created. Often, clients meet with a lawyer before the mediation so they know their rights and obligations.