Eric Dickman has been involved in countless mediations either as a neutral or representing a party. He has seen the power of mediation and its limitations.
Mediation makes possible solutions other than just cash. Structured settlements, job training, job placement, and other “outside the box” solutions are simply not available at trial but are possible at mediation. Mediation also allows the parties to reach a cash settlement that at times neither side thought was possible. In most cases, the benefit of a neutral to find common ground cannot be denied.
Some think that mediation is less than one’s day in court. Nothing can be further from the truth. More often than not, mediation is more than one’s day in court. First, both sides are fully heard. They can say what they want without the strict limitations of the Rules of Evidence. Both parties still have control over what happens, resolution in mediation is not a decision that comes down from above. The parties are active participants in the solution that comes about, and significant to many, the proceedings are confidential.
The one thing is true about mediation, rarely is one party the looser. Unlike trials where one party wins and one looses, at mediation both parties can win. That is not to say that at the end of good mediation both parties are happy, in fact, the opposite is likely true. A truism passed on many years ago which still holds true, “In a good mediation both sides are unhappy. The plaintiff because he or she received less than he or she wanted and the defendant because he or she gave up more than he or she wanted.” When everyone moved more than they wanted, mediation has been the most successful and both sides are the winners.
The key skills for any mediator are to be good with people, to be willing to listen, but not be moved off course. The goal of mediation is a solution, but to get there all sides need to feel as though they were heard. Finally, a mediator must be able to think on his or her feet to find a resolution, where before there was only conflict. Eric Dickman has these skills. Not only does Eric Dickman hold a post J.D. degree, an LL.M, he has been a trial and appellate lawyer since 1985 with an active practice in four states, and he has been a professor, but he also has the ability to listen and understands the needs of individuals and institutional clients as they move through the mediation process.