Mediation is an invaluable forum for resolving disputes, allowing parties to achieve an outcome, on their own, that addresses their unique issues without the involvement of outside decision makers. Recently, mediators have been swept up in a broad legal housekeeping project, based on an apparent misunderstanding of the nature of their role in the system.

Many in the legal profession watched in horror as infamous plaintiffs attorney Thomas Girardi dominated last summer’s legal news. He had allegedly embezzled and misappropriated millions of client dollars to bankroll his high-end lifestyle and had negotiated client settlement agreements while lying about the amount and availability of settlement funds.