Silicon Valley Mediation Group members offer a wide variety of alternative dispute resolution, ADR, services. Since the mediation process is typically selected as the ADR process of choice, our emphasis is on civil mediation. We also offer other ADR processes that may be appropriate depending on the stage of litigation, issues involved and preferences of the parties.
Arbitration may be either binding or advisory depending on agreement of the Parties. Parties may enter into an agreement to arbitrate before or after their dispute has arisen. The arbitrator listens to evidence and makes a decision called an “award”. If within a specific time period a trial de novo is not requested, then an advisory decision becomes binding. A binding decision has the force of law, and there are limited grounds for an appeal. Selecting a skilled arbitrator, who possesses subject matter and legal expertise, is critical.
Conciliation is used when a positive or perhaps an interdependent relationship exists between parties to a dispute. Unlike other ADR process, the conciliator does not have to be or remain neutral. The conciliator does not, however, make a decision or award but helps improve communication and assist the parties to collaboratively find their own resolution to a mutually important issue. Conciliation is most frequently used in government and labor/management conflicts.
Early Neutral Evaluation
Early Neutral Evaluation is a process where a highly experienced attorney or other professional expert in a particular field provides a written, non-binding evaluation of the parties prospects for success in litigation. The intent of the process is to assist parties in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their case. This process is typically used very early in litigation, before significant expenditure, to raise issues that could result in early settlement of the case.
Facilitation is typically used when there is an intra-organizational crisis or breakdown among members of a board, department, school, municipal district, union leadership/membership or in other organizational or public settings. A facilitator makes no decision, except ones relating to process designed to help the participants determine all substantive issues. The facilitator focuses the group’s discussions, enhances communication and provides an organized structure for the meeting.
Mediation is regarded as the most popular ADR process, because a significant percentage of cases are resolved under the cloak of confidentiality. The privacy of the process enables parties to generate options that may resolve the conflict to their mutual satisfaction and in a manner not possible in a trial. Managed by an impartial, trained mediator, with subject matter expertise, the process may be initiated by either party, a court or suggested by a third party at any time during the life of a dispute from pre-suit, throughout litigation, even when the case is on appeal. The mediator is permitted to engage in ex parte communication with individual parties and their counsel, whether by telephone or in a meeting called a caucus. The mediator does not make a decision or award, but assists the parties in finding their own solution that they intend to be contractually binding. For very large, complex or multi-party cases co-mediation may be desirable. Although there is some additional cost, the benefits often out-weigh the expense.
Partnering is used before commencement of major construction or environmental projects. All project participants, contractor, subs, engineers, developer, etc. meet and design an on-site dispute resolution process. The parties participate in team-building, defining goals, establishing an effective communication process to be used during the project, and establishing a collaborative method for resolving disputes as they arise during the project.
Special Master is a neutral with extensive experience or expertise in the subject matter in dispute. The special master is impartial, and provides an assessment of the case and makes recommendations. Because of the special master’s expertise, the advice given often carries significant weight with the parties and the court.
Fees are dependant upon the number of parties, services required, stage of litigation and issues involved. Governmental Entities may be eligible for a discount. For co-mediation, please contact the mediators for discussion of fees and other billing options. SVMG does not charge an administrative or set-up fee; and there is no cancellation fee if a matter is rescheduled. Please call us with any questions.
Silicon Valley Mediation Group members provide effective conflict resolution using mediation and facilitation for large group and public policy issues as well as a full complement of ADR services to all levels of government. Our mediators are experienced in inter-governmental, constituent, employee and government contract dispute resolution. We work individually and in a co-mediation model to minimize taxpayers expense respecting an agency’s reputation with constituents, stakeholders, contractors and other government agencies. In addition, we design management processes for preventing internal organizational disputes.