Mediator Brace Kern
Brace Kern is a Supreme Court Administrative Office (SCAO) approved general civil litigation mediator with advanced mediator training certification.
Brace has been involved in a wide variety of mediations in various states.
Before becoming a mediator, Brace experienced mediations as the insurance company’s claims adjuster, as the defense attorney, and as a the plaintiff’s attorney.
Give Brace a call to hear him discuss his recommended approach to achieving a mediated settlement of your dispute.
What is Mediation?
Mediation seeks to resolve a dispute through the facilitating services of a mediator, which is why is it often referred to as facilitation.
Essentially, a mediator guides the exchange of communications in a productive manner to assist you in negotiating the settlement of your dispute. In a successful mediation, you choose your own result rather than risking the uncertainty of the future.
Is Mediation Right for Your Dispute?
Mediation is a voluntary process, unless it is court ordered mediation.
At court ordered mediation, generally speaking the parties must only appear at the mediation to have complied with the court’s order.
However, mediation is only right for your dispute if you actually want to resolve the dispute.
There are a variety of cases and disputes that are perfect for mediation, including:
- Mediation of General Civil Litigation Cases
- Mediation of Divorce, Custody Disputes and Family Law Cases
- Mediation of Employment Disputes
- Mediation of Disputes Between Schools and Students or Parents
- Mediation of Special Education Disputes
- Mediation of Partnership Break-ups
- Mediation of Lien Disputes
What Can I Expect at Mediation?
Mediation starts off with all parties to a dispute alone in the same room with the mediator, and the parties’ attorneys if they have counsel.
The mediator explains the process, assures the parties of confidentiality, and confirms his impartiality.
One person, usually the initiator or plaintiff, describes the problem and, if possible, explains the desired resolution.
Then, the other person responds to the description of the problem, voices their own concerns, and counters with their desired resolution.
Respect is given to each speaker in that there are no interruptions as each person is given all the time they need to speak when it’s their turn to talk.
If a resolution cannot be met through direct communication across the table, then the parties may be separated into different rooms for private caucuses.
The mediator will go back and forth between the separate rooms to hear that which you don’t want the other person to hear.
Your mediator will not disclose anything that you tell him unless you specifically tell him what to say to the other person.
How is a Mediated Settlement Reached?
The benefit of a mediator is that he gets to hear what you are afraid to tell the other side.
Likewise, the mediator hears what the other side doesn’t want you to hear.
Resolution becomes possible when your willingness and the other side’s willingness overlap.
Negotiating is difficult. No one wants to get shortchanged, and no one wants to pay any more than they have to.
You don’t want to tell the other side your bottom line because if they knew what it was then they would never offer you more than your bottom line.
Conversely, you wouldn’t want to offer to pay any more than the other person is willing to accept.
As the bard would tell us, therein lies the rub.
Through mediation, you can tell the mediator that your bottom line is $100,000, but you want to start negotiations at $150,000.
The mediator may learn that the other side is willing to pay $125,000, but they only start by offering $75,000.
At first blush, it would appear that the parties are way too far apart to reach a mediated settlement because the demand is twice the amount of the offer.
However, the mediator would know that both parties are willing to settle for an amount between $100,000 to $125,000.
Through facilitative communication, the mediator would guide the parties’ negotiations to an agreeable settlement figure.
Where Do We Mediate?
Usually mediation is conducted at a neutral location.
At BEK Law, we provide a conference room and separate rooms for private caucuses as well as plenty of parking.
Alternatively, your county courthouse should have conference rooms that may be reserved by your mediator at no cost.
How to Choose a Mediator
Far too often we’ve heard attorneys seek a mediator who has experience in the specific subject matter of the dispute, such as employment law or construction law.
But, specific subject matter cases probably already have two attorneys experienced in that subject matter, yet they haven’t reached a settlement.
The way we see it you should choose a mediator who thinks differently from the two attorneys that haven’t come up with a resolution.
Imagine you want a banana so you ask your attorney to peel it for you. Your attorney repeatedly attempts to peel the stem downward to no avail.
So, your attorney seeks the help of your adversary’s attorney who also unsuccessfully tries to peel the banana by pulling the stem downward.
After watching two attorneys fail to peel the banana, would you ask a third attorney for help peeling the banana?
We recommend that you hire a monkey to do the job that the two attorneys couldn’t do.
A monkey thinks differently than attorneys, and understands that the easiest way to peel a banana is from the bottom toward the stem.
So, the moral of the story is to hire a mediator who wants to reach a settlement as much as the monkey wants that banana.
Schedule a Mediation in Traverse City, Michigan with Mediator Brace Kern
Give us a call to speak with an experienced mediator in northern Michigan today, or click on the link below to schedule a mediation or consultation to learn more about mediation services in northern Michigan.