Information for Family Lawyers Choosing Arbitration or Mediation-Arbitration
- If you are choosing a mediation-arbitration process, please ensure that your client has read our website, the agreements on the site and the fee structure.
- We will need to meet with your client privately (with you present if you wish) to ensure that we believe he or she is a suitable candidate for the mediation-arbitration process. This will take about one hour and we charge a flat rate for this “intake-screening” meeting.
- Please ensure that your client has signed the “Agreement to Mediate” before attending for his or her intake-screening meeting. If the client chooses to not proceed or we determine that this is not an appropriate case for mediation-arbitration, the Agreement will be terminated.
- After we meet with each client, we can schedule the first mediation meeting. However, we need to have the Arbitration Agreement executed before we can conduct the first mediation meeting.
- It is the responsibility of counsel to review and negotiate the terms of their Arbitration Agreement. We will assist you in a conference call if you wish. The following points are important:
- Please consider whether there are any possible conflicts or concerns about bias that you or your client or the other counsel or client may have and raise these with us before we agree to be retained.
- Is there any urgency to any issue? We do not hear motions as arbitrators during the mediation phase of the process. It is therefore important for you to identify anything that is pressing so we can determine an appropriate procedure.
- We do not provide open mediation services.
- Please make sure that the jurisdiction you want us to have as arbitrators is fully and clearly defined in the Arbitration Agreement.
- Please ensure that you have provided for a court reporter if you want one to be present; otherwise there will be no reporter. Please consider that our notes belong to us; you cannot rely on our note-taking to create a record of the evidence at the hearing for the purpose of appeal or review.
- If the matter settles in mediation and the clients wish to designate us as their on-going mediator-arbitrators for “secondary arbitration”, they will need to enter into a new “Secondary Arbitration Agreement”. We advise that you consider the wording of such an agreement at the outset and prepare your clients to enter into such an agreement as well.
- It is your responsibility to define the Arbitration process you wish us to follow, including:
- Will it be an oral or written hearing?
- Will the clients file any evidence in writing?
- Will there be any time limits on the presentation of each party’s case?
- What time limits do you want in place for exchange of witness statements, affidavits, documents or briefs, reports, statements of fact and law, written submissions, etc.
- What procedural motions do you anticipate?
- How do you want the arbitrator to communicate with you?
- Can you agree on any facts, documents or admissions?
- If the matter is arbitration only, without mediation, or using a different mediator, then the parties must be separately screened for power imbalances prior to the execution of the Arbitration Agreement. We have our own requirements for screening, which include the following:
- The parties must be separately screened by the same person within a reasonably near time frame to the date of the arbitration.
- We will provide you with the names and contact information of the people with whom we work as screeners.
- The parties will each be required to sign a “Consent to Third-Party Screening.”
- We only accept reports of the screening that accord with our forms.
- Please note that we have specific Process Protocols in place for the conduct of all arbitrations. They can be found at the end of our current Arbitration agreement and also on the website; please familiarize yourself with them and ensure that you are able to comply with them and that your client will be willing and able to comply with them as well.