I spent my morning mediating a case at the Dispute Resolution Center of Harris County. The parties came together and reached a settlement. Here’s a brief video from the DRC:
Unfortunately, mediating at the DRC can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Sometimes, you have parties who genuinely want to work out a deal and need an extra nudge, and maybe the dispute isn’t worth enough to justify paying a mediator. So, the parties use the resources of the DRC to try to cut a deal. Those cases are more fun to mediate because you feel like a deal is within striking distance; it’s just a question of how to get the parties there. Other times, you have parties who have no intention of settling. They mediate solely because the judge orders them to do so. Mediating those cases feels like a waste of time–particularly when I volunteer my time to do it. I’d much prefer the parties object to mediation in those cases and get ready for trial.
At any rate, today was a “good” mediation, in that the parties worked hard and resolved their dispute. I’m happy I didn’t get in the way of the parties as they hammered out a deal.