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In most instances, deciding to mediate or litigate is a key moment in the life of a case. There is always great risk if the parties utilize the litigation process and proceed to trial. One side can have a great victory while the other side can suffer a terrible loss, or there could be a result somewhere in between. Your client could be ecstatic or extremely dismayed. There is always the possibility of an appeal, which extends the life of the case, increases costs, creates further uncertainty, and raises the possibility of a retrial. A successful mediation gives the parties certainty, controls costs, and allows the parties to maintain control over the process and the decisions that will be made. As a judge in the Trial Assignment Part (TAP), I have presided over numerous trials, and now as a private mediator, I have a unique perspective from both sides on these issues.

Litigation in court is fraught with uncertainty. Attorneys are restricted by court rules and artificial deadlines that can vary from county to county resulting in an enormous amount of wasted time. Judges are oftentimes overwhelmed by large calendars which prevent them from being able to have sufficient time and resources to devote to resolving issues and settling litigation. While sitting in TAP, I had calendars of 75 cases or more. It was simply not possible to give each case the time it deserved. The standard five-minute conference was not enough time to devote to the issues in most cases.

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