The entire legal profession, lawyers, judges, law teachers, has become so mesmerized with the stimulation of the courtroom contest that we tend to forget that we ought to be healers of conflicts. Trials by adversarial contest must in time go the way of the ancient trial by battle and blood. Our system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for a truly civilized people.Chief Justice Warren Burger - 1984 State of the Judiciary Address
Arbitration, Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) for the Houston & Surrounding Areas
Welcome to the Law Offices of Hal Hargis Online. The purpose of this website is to serve as an informational guide to those seeking alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for commercial and civil disputes and require an attorney specializing in arbitration and mediation services.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of settlement negotiation conducted and assisted by an impartial person trained in the art of settling disputes. Unlike arbitration and other kinds of alternative dispute resolution, mediation is non-adjudicatory. The mediator makes no findings of fact or law, whether binding or non-binding.
Effectiveness of Mediation
Mediation works. Some mediators enjoy a success rate of over 90%. Several reasons account for this success:
The mediator neutralizes hostility and emotion inherent in many conflicts. During the caucus sessions, the parties do not see or communicate directly with each other. All communications are filtered through the mediator, who serves as a lightning rod for vehemence and frustration.
The mediation process causes parties and counsel to undertake a realistic risk/benefit analysis of continued litigation. Often, unrealistic expectations of a client or his counsel impede settlement of a dispute. The mediator serves as a catalyst for attention to reality.
Because the mediator serves as a communications bridge between the parties, the mediator has knowledge of each party’s interests and goals extending beyond the knowledge of any one party, Thus, the mediator is in a unique position to suggest solutions and explore settlement possibilities.
The mediator is a neutral intermediary and does not act as advocate for either party. The mediator serves as a neutral advocate of settlement, encouraging and prodding the parties toward an agreement.
In cases where I assist the parties in preparing a written settlement agreement, each participant to the mediation should have the agreement independently reviewed by the participant’s counsel before executing the agreement.