3 Lessons Learned:
Insights on How to Make a Settlement Successful
Settlements are compromises in which both parties involved in a dispute come to a common agreement to resolve their issues. Normally, disputes are settled early on before any legal proceedings begin or can be settled during or after a hearing. Oral settlements are common however documenting terms of the dispute is necessary to avoid issues that may arise in terms of the settlement. A well-settled dispute can save you money, effort, and anxiety. Conducting a settlement is rather a straightforward process however more work is needed to document the mediated settlement. Here are a few tips to show you how to get favorable outcomes from a settlement.
One of the most important tips to consider is deciding on the right time to mediate a settlement. Most people wonder about the right time to mediate a case. From a mediator’s perspective, it all depends on the time the suit is filed, whether discovery is complete, or after dispositive motions. There are various advantages and disadvantages to the time which clients choose to mediate their dispute. With early mediation, parties lack significant facts to effectively settle the case and thus exposing them to potential failure during the settlement. It is argued that the best time to settle a case is when there is a proper assessment of facts to prevent both parties from wasting time, money, and energy.
It is also wise to have a written settlement agreement. Oral settlement agreements are difficult to enforce as there is no proof to show the terms of the settlement reached by both parties during mediation. Documenting settlement terms will prevent involved parties from disputing one or more terms of the agreement. Most settlement agreements are confidential and thus having a documented settlement lays out the terms of the agreement that cannot be disputed. It is therefore important to have a well-document settlement signed by both parties to avoid disavowing the terms of the agreement.
Getting the right mediator is another way to ensure that your settlement is successful. There are different types of mediators; facilitative, evaluative, and transformative. Transformative mediators empower parties they represent to make choices about the terms of the agreement and the outcomes of the mediation. Facilitative mediators are in charge of the process of mediation and suggest mutually agreeable solutions to involved parties. Evaluative mediators highlight the weakness of the parties’ case and suggest the outcome the judge could issue. In either way, the parties involved should decide on which style they feel is best to handle their settlement.
The other tip is to ensure that all the essential terms are included in the written settlement agreement. The writing created during the mediation process should contain all the terms of both parties even though counsel usually drafts the settlement sometime later after the parties have come into agreement. In some cases, one of the parties may decide to change their terms of an agreement or argue that the terms do not reflect what they want. Successful mediation results in an effective settlement that is well documented and signed by involved parties. A specialist legal adviser should show you how best to navigate legal proceedings and get the best out of a settlement.