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Archive for the ‘Mediation’ Category

Common Challenges in Employment Mediation and How to Overcome Them

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process where disputing parties engage, with the help of an impartial party, a mediator, to resolve their disputes. It can be an expeditious way of solving workplace conflicts without public scrutiny as it is a private process, parties can come up with creative solutions for the issues at hand, and it is also cost-effective.

Like any other mediation service, employment mediation is not without common challenges that can hinder its effectiveness. However, with the right approach and tools, many of the common challenges and issues can be overcome, facilitating collaborative solutions between the conflicting parties. Let us look at some common challenges experienced in employment mediation and practical ways that we overcome them at Blue Sky Mediation Center.

Unwillingness to Meet Face-to-Face

Employment Mediation

Direct and constructive communication plays a crucial role in resolving workplace disputes. When parties are unwilling to meet face-to-face, this can hinder the progress of the mediation process. To overcome this challenge, the mediator can organize private sessions to start with. We utilize the “caucus method” at Blue Sky Mediation Center, where each group is given their own room (either virtually or in person). This allows the parties involved in the dispute to relax, knowing that they will not be forced to confront the opposing party and/or opposing attorney. This can help you reach a mutual settlement and give you confidence in ensuring the terms of the settlement work.

Negotiation Impasse

An impasse may occur when each party refrains from making the first offer, when one party makes a first offer and remains immovable even after offers from the other side, or when parties disagree on offers and fail to move further. In such situations, it is best to take a break, and reconvene when the parties have reflected on the issue and had a chance to cool down. Dealing with such an impasse is a common occurrence during a mediation, and our mediators have many tools that allow them to break such an impasse and continue the momentum towards a full and final resolution.

Lack of Trust

Another common challenge in employment mediation is a lack of trust. Sometimes, employees may distrust their employer, the attorneys, or even the mediation process itself. This can result in a reluctance to actively participate and share information or even agree on possible solutions to remedy the problem. To overcome this, you should choose an impartial, skilled, and experienced mediator who can maintain confidentiality and help you gain trust in the process so that you can actively work towards resolving the conflict. They can do this by encouraging you to clarify your expectations, air your concerns or doubts at any point during the mediation process, and find common interests and goals with the other party to build trust.

Power Imbalance

Employment mediation often involves dealing with power imbalances (real or perceived) between the parties. Sometimes, employees may feel pressured, intimidated, or coerced by their employer and/or their attorney, especially if facing a grievance or disciplinary issue. This can affect the autonomy of mediation and hinder employees from expressing their interests. To overcome this challenge, employees should be well-prepared for the mediation and set the goals and boundaries for the session. They can also use the mediator’s expertise in facilitating the confidential communication to help them balance the power dynamics so that their issues are resolved amicably, regardless of status.

Unrealistic Expectations

Another challenge is when employees enter mediation with high hopes and unrealistic expectations or demands that, when not met, often lead to disappointment or an impasse. While the mediator is an impartial and unbiased third party, some employees expect these professionals to take sides or even impose a solution. To overcome this challenge, employees should avoid unrealistic expectations, be open-minded and willing to explore alternatives to a settlement and listen to the other party’s interests and needs.  As we oftentimes say in mediation “the currency in which we deal is compromise.”

Emotional Intensity

Employment disputes can be emotionally charged, leading to anger, hurt, frustration, or anxiety. These feelings can trigger defensive or aggressive emotions, escalating the conflict instead of finding constructive solutions. To overcome this, parties should acknowledge their emotions and effectively manage them to maintain a constructive atmosphere. They can also focus on the future and not the past, their interests instead of positions. A skilled mediator can guide you to focus on the issues at hand and to see the true value of a settlement.

Lack of Commitment

The final challenge in employment mediation is when one or both parties are not committed to participating in the process in good faith, thereby hindering progress. The parties should set clear, achievable goals to remain committed to achieving a resolution through mediation. They should consider the true and full benefits of reaching an agreement through mediation, such as avoiding the uncertainties of litigation, cost- saving, and preserving working relationships.

Contact an Experienced Employment Mediator in San Diego, CA Today

Employment mediation offers an opportunity to creatively resolve workplace disputes in ways that litigation may not. Although you may face a few challenges during the mediation process, there are many ways of overcoming them and crafting unique remedies to your workplace conflicts. If you are involved in a workplace dispute in San Diego County, do not hesitate to contact the experienced employment mediator at Blue Sky Mediation Center at 760.454.7277 or online to learn how mediation can benefit you.

Understanding the Role of a Mediator in Employment Disputes

Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Disputes are inevitable in any workplace setting. When everyone is trying to achieve both their personal and organizational goals, there are bound to be disagreements and tension. Whether disputes are over the tasks to be done, harassment, or unfair treatment, this can quickly damage the relationship between employees, making it impossible to work together.

When parties cannot communicate and consider what others’ concerns and interests are, conflicts can arise. This is because most people tend to focus their attention on who is right and who is wrong. In such cases, parties must find options for resolving their disputes for a better working environment.

One of the options worth considering is mediation. Workplace mediation can help address differences between co-workers or with their employers and be able to work together. Let us explore the mediator’s role in resolving employment disputes and why mediation is worth considering.

Mediator in Employment Disputes

Providing a Safe and Supportive Space

A mediator, an unbiased or neutral third party, provides a safe space for the parties to work through their differences. All parties involved in the dispute are made to feel comfortable expressing their concerns openly in a non-threatening environment. The mediator ensures that the parties feel secure by remaining respectful and sensitive to their emotions, greatly enhancing the chances of reaching a mutually acceptable solution.

Facilitating Open and Honest Communication

The mediator facilitates communication between the conflicting parties to help them work toward an optimal resolution. They ensure all parties are actively involved in the mediation process to find a way to address the issues and continue working together efficiently.

Guiding the Parties

At the beginning of the session, the mediator sets the ground rules and guidelines for communication and behavior during the process. This usually ensures that the parties communicate respectfully, avoid interruptions and express their concerns effectively. Additionally, they help the parties remain focused on the crucial issues and avoid blame or one party imposing a solution.

Identifying Key Issues

Another role of the mediator in employment disputes is identifying the issues contributing to the conflicts. Mediators are experts trained to decipher what the issues and underlying interests are. They may ask questions specifically made to identify the underlying interest of the conflicting parties. When interests are identified, parties can find solutions that meet such needs and desires.

Providing Options

Once the issues and underlying interests are clarified, the mediator helps brainstorm potential solutions. Unlike in traditional litigation, where a decision is imposed, the mediator encourages the parties involved to explore creative solutions to their issues. This could include changing practices or policies, increased insurance benefits, or other solutions based on their unique situation. Mediation’s collaborative and flexible nature helps arrive at mutually beneficial agreements.

Drafting an Agreement

If the parties can reach an agreement, the mediator helps draft a formal written agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the resolution. Both parties then sign this agreement, making it a legally binding contract. On the other hand, if an agreement is not reached, the mediator summarizes the progress made during the process. This can be helpful to both parties as it shows what the issues are and paves the way for future negotiations or other dispute-resolution methods.

Why Opt for Mediation in Employment Disputes?

Seeking the help of a mediator can be very beneficial to both employees and employers. Mediation can be a great option in resolving employment-related disputes for reasons including the following:

  • Confidentiality– Discussions during mediation are not exposed to the public. This ensures that sensitive information and personal matters remain private.
  • Cost-effectiveness – Mediation is generally more cost-effective than going to court.
  • Expeditious process – In mediation, matters can be resolved within days or weeks, unlike in litigation, where court battles can go on for months or even years.
  • Preserving and improving working relationships – Mediation provides a collaborative space where employees and employers can find a resolution that preserves their working relationship.
  • More control over the outcome – Both parties actively participate in finding a solution that’s best for them, unlike in court, where the jury or judge makes the final ruling. Self-created resolutions are known to be more sustainable than authoritatively imposed decisions.
  • Preserving the reputation of employers – Mediation can help employers to prevent the risk of negative publicity or damage to their brand since the details of the dispute remain confidential

The Skilled San Diego County Mediator Can Help

Mediation can be beneficial for organizations with disputes in the workplace. It is a confidential, cost-effective, and expeditious way of resolving employment disputes. If you would like to know how our mediation services can benefit your company, contact our skilled San Diego County mediator at Blue Sky Mediation Center or online to schedule a free consultation today at 760.454.7277.

What are the Benefits of Using Mediation in a Probate Case?

Thursday, June 15th, 2023

Losing a loved one is undoubtedly a difficult experience, and dealing with the legalities of their estate distribution can add additional stress during an already emotional time. In California, the probate process happens when a person passes away, whether or not they left behind a will. The probate process involves reviewing the will to determine its validity, resolving any outstanding debts or taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries.

Family members usually have to go to court to transfer or inherit the decedent’s property, and the litigation process can be very complicated. Fortunately, probate mediation is an alternative to the traditional litigation route. This approach can help families find a more personal and amicable way to navigate the probate process and achieve a satisfactory resolution.

Read on to discover the benefits of using mediation in a probate case.

What is Probate Mediation?

mediation in probate caseProbate mediation is a voluntary and confidential process that brings together parties in a probate dispute and a neutral third party, a mediator. In probate mediation, the mediator only facilitates communication and negotiation between the parties. Unlike a judge in a courtroom, the mediator does not make decisions or impose solutions. Instead, they guide the disputing parties through the process, encouraging open communication to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution.

The mediation process typically begins with an initial session where the mediator explains the ground rules and establishes confidentiality of the process. Then the parties may be moved to separate rooms where they convey their interests and concerns to the mediator in “caucus” sessions.

The mediator moves back and forth between the parties, allowing each to present their concerns and perspectives. The mediator then identifies common interests and explores potential solutions. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator may draw up a written agreement that can be submitted to the court to make it an order.

What Type of Probate Disputes Can Be Resolved Through Mediation?

Mediation can help resolve various kinds of probate disputes, including:

  • Will contests
  • Guardianships and conservatorships
  • Trust and estate administration
  • Estate distribution
  • Placement disputes
  • Capacity and undue influence
  • Mental health issues
  • Tax benefits and consequences

Five Benefits of Using Mediation in a Probate Case

Mediation in a probate case offers several benefits that can make the process smoother and more efficient. These include the following:

  • Privacy and Confidentiality

Mediation offers a private and confidential setting for resolving probate disputes. Unlike court proceedings, where the matter is generally open to the public and becomes a public record, mediation keeps the discussions and negotiations confidential. This provides a safe space where the parties can freely express their concerns, explore options and consider possible solutions without fear of public exposure or judgment.

  • Cost-Effective and Timely Resolution

Mediation usually costs less and is time-efficient, unlike court litigation. Probate litigation can be lengthy, dragging into months or years, and involve substantial legal fees. Mediation avoids the need for court appearances and prolonged legal battles, resulting in an expedited resolution and cost savings for all parties. This ensures that more resources are available for distribution to beneficiaries.

  • Flexibility and Control

Unlike court litigation, mediation empowers the disputing parties to have more control over the case outcome. The parties actively participate in crafting their own solution instead of having a judge impose a decision on them. This flexibility allows for tailored agreements that meet the specific needs and interests of the parties involved.

  • Preservation of Relationships

Family dynamics are often at the core of probate disputes, and litigation can aggravate existing tensions. Mediation provides an avenue for open communication and understanding, ensuring the preservation of trust and promoting long-term connections among family members.

  • Stress Alleviation

Probate cases can be emotionally draining for everyone involved. The adversarial nature of litigation can intensify stress and anxiety. However, mediation offers a more collaborative and supportive environment where parties can express and process their emotions freely. This can lead to more holistic resolutions that address the underlying concerns and emotional aspects while still considering the legal dimension of the case.

Contact a Skilled San Diego County Mediation Attorney to Discuss Your Case Today

If you are involved in a family dispute concerning the final wishes of a loved one, seeking an alternative conflict resolution approach may be ideal for you. Probate mediation can happen anytime, during a lawsuit or before one is necessary. Contact the skilled probate mediation attorney at Blue Sky Mediation Center in San Diego at 760.454.7277 or online to schedule a free consultation today. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.

Mediation in Employment Law

Monday, May 15th, 2023

Employment Law Mediation

Employment law mediationEmployment law refers to various legal matters concerning workers, employers, and workplace safety. While employment laws seek to safeguard employees against discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, disputes happen between employees and employers.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation, are often used to resolve employment law disputes. Mediation is a process where a neutral third party, a mediator, facilitates communication between the disputing parties to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Mediation can be a valuable tool in resolving employment law disputes, particularly for those parties who want to maintain a positive working relationship. Let’s examine the various ways mediation can be used in employment law.

Which Types of Employment Law Disputes Can Be Resolved Through Mediation?

Mediation can be used to resolve a wide range of disputes in employment law, including the following:

  • Employment Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employee is treated unfairly based on age, race, gender, religion, or other protected characteristics. Discrimination can occur in different forms, such as hiring, promotions, and job assignments.

For example, if an employee is not promoted, they may argue that such an employment decision is an act of discrimination based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. When this happens, it can lead to tension and low morale.

Mediation can help resolve discrimination claims by providing a safe and neutral space for parties to discuss their concerns and work towards a mutually agreeable solution. Mediation can be beneficial in discrimination cases where parties may be hesitant to speak openly in a public setting.

  • Workplace Harassment

Harassment in the workplace can be in many forms, including sexual harassment, bullying, and intimidation. Mediation can effectively address harassment claims as it allows the conflicting parties to openly and honestly discuss their issues. Mediation can also help prevent further harassment by creating a safe and respectful workplace environment.

  • Wage and Hour/Overtime Disputes

Another common type of dispute that can be resolved through mediation is wage and hour issues. Wage and hour disputes can arise when an employee is not paid for all of the hours they worked or when they are not paid overtime when they should be.

Mediation can effectively resolve these disputes by allowing the parties to work together to find a fair solution. The mediator can help the parties understand the relevant laws and regulations and facilitate discussions to reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

  • Wrongful Termination Claims

A wrongful termination claim may arise when an employee is fired for illegal reasons, such as discrimination or retaliation. In such a situation, mediation can effectively address these claims because it allows the parties to work together to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs.

Benefits of Mediation in Employment Law

Mediation can offer several benefits in employment law disputes. One of the main benefits is that it can be less costly and time-consuming than traditional litigation. Mediation takes less time than a trial, and the cost of hiring a mediator is often lower than hiring an attorney.

Mediation can also be less adversarial and more collaborative than litigation. During mediation, parties work together to find a mutually acceptable solution to their solution, rather than battling it in court. This can help preserve the relationship between employees and their employers.

Mediation also offers more control to the parties involved. During mediation, the parties have more control over the outcome of the dispute than they would in court. The parties are free to explore creative solutions to their dispute that might not be available in a court of law.

Mediation is a confidential and private process, unlike a trial, which is open to the public. This can be especially crucial in employment law disputes where confidentiality concerns are significant. For instance, confidentiality agreements in mediation can ensure that other employees do not become aware of the terms of a particular settlement.

Contact Blue Sky Mediation Center in San Diego, California Today

Employment law mediation is a valuable way to resolve disputes as it provides an opportunity to craft solutions that may not be available in traditional litigation. If you are facing a dispute in your workplace, consider mediation as a way to resolve it in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.

Our San Diego County mediator at Blue Sky Mediation Center is committed to helping you find a mutually acceptable solution that meets your unique needs and objectives. Contact us today at 760.454.7277 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in resolving your dispute.

What are the Seven Elements of Mediation?

Saturday, April 15th, 2023

Disputes are an inevitable part of human interaction. Mediation is a powerful tool that can help people resolve conflicts expeditiously and peacefully. The mediation process involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who assists the parties in resolving their disputes. Mediation is an excellent alternative to litigation as it is more cost-effective, and disputing parties can reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation generally consists of seven key elements that must be present to ensure a successful mediation process. These elements serve as a road map to reach a mutually agreeable solution. Keep reading to discover the seven elements of mediation.

Elements of Mediation


Interests refer to the underlying needs and desires of the parties involved in the dispute. Interests are very different from positions. While positions are essentially what the parties want, interests are the motivations behind that want. For example, if one party wants their money back, that is their position. However, when one asks them “why,” they may say that it is because they paid for a service that they feel they did not get or felt cheated. Discovering underlying interests enables parties to focus on solutions that truly meet their needs.


Alternatives refer to other ways the parties can resolve their differences if they cannot reach an agreement. For example, parties may believe that if they cannot reach an agreement through mediation, they can either go to court, use arbitration or continue with the status quo. Understanding the available alternatives (as well as the costs associated with each alternative) can help parties make informed decisions during mediation. Parties can also understand the benefits and the consequences of not reaching an agreement.


Options are any available choices that disputing parties might consider to satisfy their interests. During mediation, parties can brainstorm various choices with the mediator’s help. Such options may include contingencies, conditions, and trades. The more options parties have, the higher the likelihood of reaching an agreement.


Communication is essential in mediation as it is how parties express their interests, concerns, and options. Communication goes beyond voicing one’s opinions. It involves verbal and nonverbal cues such as tone of voice, gestures and body movements, as well as active listening. The success of a mediation process is hinged on how parties communicate through the mediator. Communication must be open, transparent, and honest. The mediation privileged allows for this as all communications are confidential and can never be used against any of the parties.


The relationship between disputing parties can determine how aggressive one can be in specific issues. Mediation is often used to resolve disputes between parties with an ongoing relationship, such as family members or business partners. One needs to ask: how meaningful is my relationship with the other party? Will I ever see them again? By understanding how the dispute affects the relationship, parties can work together to find solutions that meet their interests and maintain their relationships. For example, in a family dispute over an inheritance, family members may wish to maintain a positive relationship with one another rather than create further animosity.


The sixth element of mediation is legitimacy. Legitimacy refers to the perceived fairness of the mediation process and the outcome. You need an objective standard or reference point to substantiate the fairness of the process and the outcome. This may include your interests, legal rights, and the context of the dispute. A fair agreement in mediation must meet the interests of the disputing parties.


Commitment refers to the willingness of the parties to work together to reach an agreement. The currency that the mediator deals in is Compromise. Mediation is a voluntary process, and parties must be committed to listening to each other’s concerns and work collaboratively to find a solution that meets their interests. In addition, both parties should be committed to abiding by the terms of the agreement reached during the mediation process.

Talk to an Experienced Los Angeles Mediator Today

Are you looking for an experienced mediator in Los Angeles? Look no further! Whether you are dealing with a workplace conflict, personal injury, or business dispute, our skilled mediators at Blue Sky Mediation Center can help. Call us at 760.454.7277 or online to book a free consultation to discuss your needs today.

How Does Mediation Differ From Arbitration?

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

Disputes are inevitable and can arise in any setting, between individuals, businesses, or even countries. Parties can reach resolutions through alternative dispute resolution methods instead of going to court. Two of the most common approaches are mediation and arbitration. While their main goal is to resolve disputes, they differ significantly in various aspects, as discussed in this article.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a dispute resolution approach where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, works to help disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable solution. The mediator only facilitates communication and helps the parties explore possible solutions to the dispute but does not impose a decision.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration, like mediation, involves a neutral third party. The neutral party, known as an arbitrator, listens to arguments and evidence presented by each side and then decides on behalf of the disputing parties. The arbitrator, often a lawyer, can decide which parties must abide by.

Key Differences Between Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration differ substantially from each other, as discussed below:

Role of Mediator vs. Arbitrator

In mediation, the mediator facilitates communication between the disputing parties and helps them arrive at possible solutions. On the other hand, an arbitrator listens to the arguments and evidence that each side presents and grants an award.

Formality of Process

Mediation is typically less formal and more flexible than arbitration. The mediation process is less structured and not bound by formal rules of procedure. For instance, the mediator can meet the disputing parties together and separately, while in arbitration, the arbitrator cannot hold separate hearings.

Arbitration is a more formal process governed by specific rules of procedure. The parties typically present their case in a formal hearing, and a decision is made based on the evidence.


While active participation of the parties in mediation is encouraged, in arbitration, the arbitrator controls participation and limits it to facts and evidence of the case.

Decision Making

One of the primary differences between mediation and arbitration is the decision-making process. In mediation, the parties are involved in a negotiation where they can offer creative solutions to their dispute. However, arbitration involves the arbitrator making the final decision, and the parties must abide by it.


In mediation, parties can find solutions that work for everyone involved. If the proposed solutions are unacceptable, a resolution must not be reached. In arbitration, however, the outcome is guaranteed, typically a clear decision that may or may not be satisfactory to both parties.

Degree of Satisfaction

Mediation is often more satisfying to the parties than arbitration because the parties have more control over the outcome. Mediation provides a safe space for parties to communicate with each other to find a mutually acceptable agreement. Active participation in the decision-making process typically makes the parties more satisfied.

Arbitration can be less satisfying because the parties have less control over the outcome. The parties only present their case then the arbitrator makes the final decision. The final decision may not be satisfactory to both parties, and they may feel like they have been forced to accept the outcome. However, parties can request a trial in court if they disagree with the arbitrator’s decision, provided the arbitration is non-binding.


Mediation is generally less expensive than arbitration as it involves fewer formal procedures and less time. Arbitration costs more than mediation because it is more formal and structured and may involve multiple hearings and a longer process. Furthermore, an arbitrator can order one party to pay additional costs to the other party.

Which Approach is Appropriate?

Mediation and arbitration are viable and effective alternatives to the traditional court system. The choice between mediation and arbitration depends on the case’s circumstances and the parties’ preferences.

If you want to have control over the outcome, incur fewer costs, maintain the relationship with the other party, and feel like you can work together to reach a mutually acceptable solution, mediation may be the best option.

However, arbitration may be appropriate if you cannot negotiate a settlement with the other party but still prefer to keep the matter private.

Contact an Experienced Mediator in California Today

If you have a situation that you would prefer to be resolved through mediation, the experienced mediator attorney in Encinitas at Blue Sky Mediation Centre in California can help. You can contact us at 760.454.7277 to schedule a free consultation today.

Will Mediation Allow Me to Tell My Side of the Story?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2023

Mediation is an extremely productive dispute resolution process that allows parties to resolve disputes in a private and less formal setting with the help of a neutral third party, the mediator. Mediation is a commonly used method that is effectively used to resolve disputes in various contexts, such as employment disputes, business disputes, civil litigation, and divorce. The question of whether mediation will allow you to tell your side of the story is valid, and if you are seeking to be heard and your grievances addressed, mediation may be the best option for you.

How Mediation Can Help You Tell Your Side of the Story?

Mediation can help you to tell your side of the story in several ways:

Informal Setting

Mediation as an alternative dispute resolution practice provides a more relaxed and informal setting than formal litigation in a courtroom, allowing for a more authentic and open discussion of the issues. This can create an atmosphere where you feel comfortable telling your side of the story and expressing your needs and interests.

Active Participation

In mediation, you are actively involved in the process and have the opportunity to tell your side of the story. The mediator acts as a facilitator, helping to create an environment where you can communicate effectively. Active participation allows you to have a voice in the outcome of the dispute and work towards a mutually acceptable resolution.


Mediation is a more flexible and informal approach to resolving disputes than litigation in a courtroom. With traditional litigation, the strict rules of procedure and evidence you must follow can make it challenging to tell your side of the story without fear of repercussions. In contrast, mediation is a far more relaxed and collaborative approach. If you can’t go to the mediation center then they can offer remote mediation sessions create virtual solutions. Although there are rules, such as not interrupting or talking over the other party, you can have open, respectful communication and air your interests and concerns freely. This way, it is possible to have solutions tailored to meet your needs and those of the other party.


Another huge benefit of mediation is that it provides a safe and completely confidential space for resolving disputes. The proceedings in a mediation session are privileged, and you, therefore, have far greater privacy. Nothing you share with the mediator during mediation can be used against you in formal litigation. In a courtroom setting, however, the proceedings are open to the public, making it difficult to discuss sensitive and private information and making you feel like you have yet to be heard. The ability for the mediator to speak with each party ex-parte can also provide a sense of comfort and security for you, as you can discuss sensitive or personal information in a private setting, free from the public scrutiny of a courtroom. Mediation may be best for you if your case is sensitive and involves a lot of personal information being shared.

Focus on Interests

Focus on interests in mediation refers to the approach where a mediator seeks to identify the underlying reasons behind a party’s position. Mediation focuses on such interests rather than your position and, in this way, allows you to tell your side of the story. For example, say you and your neighbor are conflicting over the fence placement in your backyard. Your position is that you would like the fence to be a few feet into your neighbor’s backyard, while your neighbor prefers having the fence on the property line. A mediator will strive to learn the reason behind this and come up with an amicable solution for both parties after understanding all of the facts of the issue.

Collaborative Space

Mediation is a collaborative and solution-focused approach to dispute resolution, which can result in greater emotional satisfaction and closure for the parties involved. Unlike traditional litigation, which can be extremely adversarial and emotionally draining, mediation allows the parties to work together to find a mutually acceptable resolution. A collaborative space like this can reduce tensions and negative emotions, leading to more open communication where your side of the story can be heard. The collaborative nature of mediation can also help to preserve relationships between the parties, which can be particularly important in disputes involving family members, business partners, or long-term colleagues.

To reap the benefits of mediation, choosing a mediator with the skills and experience to manage the process effectively is crucial. A skilled mediator can help how to prepare for your mediation session and create a safe and collaborative environment where you feel heard and understood and achieve fair and satisfying resolutions.

Contact a Skilled and Experienced Mediator in California

If you are facing a dispute in California, contact the skilled and experienced mediator at BlueSky Mediation Center in California. You can reach us at 760-454-7277 to schedule a free consultation today. You can also email our case manager, Allison Fortuna, at We are committed to listening to your side of the story and achieving fair resolutions for your dispute as expeditiously as possible.

How to Prepare for Your Mediation Session

Sunday, January 15th, 2023

Mediation is a process of resolving disputes outside of court, where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates communication and negotiations between the disputing parties. In California, mediation has become an extremely popular and effective way to handle conflict resolution, as it is quicker, less expensive, and less formal than going to court.

It is important to be well-prepared to ensure your mediation session is productive and successful.

This article discusses some tips to help you prepare for your mediation session in California so you can feel confident and ready for a productive negotiation.

1. Choose a Highly Qualified and Experienced Mediator

Take time to research mediators and choose someone with experience relevant to your dispute. It is also advisable to review the mediation process, including the role of the mediator, the rules of evidence, how the session will be structured, measures for confidentiality, and the cost of the mediation session. Many mediators charge an hourly fee for all work performed, while others charge a one-time, simple flat fee.

2. Gather Relevant Documents

Gather any documents related to the dispute, such as emails, receipts, contracts, invoices, or other materials that you foresee coming in handy in the resolution. Be thoroughly familiar with your documents, and be prepared to clarify and provide explanations as needed. These documents help support your case and may also be useful in negotiating a resolution.

3. Communicate With the Other Party

Try to communicate with the other party ahead of the mediation session. This helps clear up misunderstandings and establish a more positive atmosphere for the session. However, avoid discussing confidential information that may be inappropriate outside the mediation session. In California, mediation proceedings and communications between parties are confidential and inadmissible as evidence in court, except in very limited circumstances. The high level of confidentiality means that any information or statements made during mediation cannot be disclosed or used in court without the consent of all parties. By avoiding discussing confidential or sensitive information outside of the mediation session, you can help to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the negotiation process.

4. Arrange for Representation

If you have a lawyer, discuss your case in detail with them well before the mediation session. Your lawyer can help you prepare for the session and provide legal advice during the session if needed. You may also have your lawyer help you prepare your mediation brief, which is a summary of your position, as many mediators ask for briefing ahead of your mediation session. If you do not have a lawyer, consider hiring one or finding a free or low-cost legal services provider.

5. Consider Goals for Your Mediation

It is important to consider what you hope to achieve in the session. Consider your goals and what matters to you in solving the dispute. Before the mediation session, take some time to think about your priorities and goals for the session and how you will determine if you have achieved the result you were hoping for from the session. This will help you stay focused during the session and make reaching a resolution that meets your goals and needs easier. It is important to remember that compromise is an inherent part of the mediation process.

6. Be Prepared to Make the First Offer

If you value the financial result from the mediation session, making a reasonable and fair first offer will enable you to anchor the negotiation in your favor. However, if you are uncertain about the value of what you are negotiating or would prefer to avoid the stress and anxiety that comes with “showing your cards” first, it may be best to refrain from making the first offer. Be sure to discuss this in detail with your lawyer well before the mediation session to determine your agreed upon strategy.

7. Be Open to Compromise

Mediation is a process that involves give and take, and being open to compromise is absolutely critical in order to move the mediation process forward. The success of the process depends on all parties’ willingness to compromise. Be prepared to listen to the other party’s perspective and consider their position.

8. Be Prepared to Make a Decision

At the end of the session, the mediator may ask you to decide whether to accept a proposed resolution. Be prepared to make a decision, but also be prepared to continue the negotiation process if needed. Mediation provides you with a wonderful opportunity to put an end to protracted litigation, and that decision is ultimately yours to make.

Contact the Skilled Mediators in Encinitas, California, at Blue Sky Mediation Center, LLC. If you are considering mediation for your dispute, contact our experienced mediator in San Diego County at Blue Sky Mediation Center or call us at 760.454.7277. Schedule a free consultation with us today, and we can help you determine which legal resolution method is right for you.

Diffusing the Cost of Conflict Through Mediation

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

At Blue Sky Mediation Center, our experienced San Diego County mediator knows every mediation session is unique, which means the overall cost of the conflict resolution depends on the nature of the dispute. Most mediations can be completed in one session, but some of the more complex disputes do require two or more sessions to reach a full and final settlement.

Estimates do show that mediation is vastly less expensive than a typical lawsuit, often producing results that are 60%-80% less expensive than conventional litigation. One of the most common reasons that is true is that mediation allows business and civil disputes to be settled promptly. That means less time in sessions, minimal attorney fees, and fewer personal and professional resources exhausted by the mediating parties.

Here are a few other ways mediation can diffuse the cost of your dispute, so you can move forward with confidence.

Litigation is Time Consuming, Which Means More Billable Hours

When most people think of litigation, they think of the process as filing a lawsuit, and an ensuing
courtroom fight. The reality is, litigation involves all legal preparation processes that occur before, during, and after the actual lawsuit. This may include the pleadings — which are each party’s initial claims and defenses stated in writing — the discovery process, negotiation stages, motions, trial, and any potential appeals.

If the litigation process ends in a trial, the actual court proceedings may only take a few days, except in especially complex cases where both sides present extensive witnesses and technical evidence, where the trial can stretch on for weeks.

However, it is the pre-trial process and the progression of preparing a case through discovery that can take weeks, months, or even years. Unfortunately, if this is true for your case, attorney hourly rates remain the most common way legal fees are charged and are the biggest cost involved in litigation.

Other costs charged by a law firm may include, but are not limited to copy, postage, and filing
fees, travel expenses, and payment for expensive expert witnesses, appraisers, and consultants, which may be charged upfront or along with the legal fee payments.

The principal fact is that litigation can be incredibly costly, making mediation the favored and often advisable route for most conflicts that are suitable for this type of expedited dispute resolution.

Contact Blue Sky Mediation Center Today to Discuss Your Dispute Resolution Needs

To learn more about the mediation process, and how our remote sessions create virtual solutions that fit all types of civil disputes, contact our San Diego County mediator at Blue Sky Mediation Center by calling 760.454.7277 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal needs today.


How Important is Confidentiality to the Mediation Process?

Saturday, October 15th, 2022

At Blue Sky Mediation Center, our experienced San Diego County mediator knows privacy is one of the central reasons many people choose mediation to resolve both personal and professional disputes outside of the courtroom. The broad scope of the mediation privilege allows for a safe space to openly discuss all aspects of a dispute.

We also know that confidentiality is what sustains the integrity of this dispute-resolution process.

Here is why.

Choosing Mediation Over Litigation Requires Trust in the Process

When two or more parties are having difficulties resolving their dispute, it is often because they simply do not have the tools or resources to effectively communicate and settle their conflict. The parties oftentimes fear the threat of communications becoming part of future or pending litigation.  Mediation protects all communications that arise in the process and allows them to remain fully confidential.

Mediation has emerged over the past few decades as an extremely successful tool to resolve these disputes without entering a courtroom or allowing a judge or jury to make decisions for those involved.

The mediator, like ours at Blue Sky Mediation Center, provides a relaxed and informal environment — which can be the comfort of each party’s own home, office, or wherever they choose — that facilitates and encourages the free exchange of pain points, ideas, and negotiating potential to resolve the conflict, without tempers flaring.

In short, the goal of any mediation session is to reach a settlement between the disputing parties.

Trusting the process means finding middle ground through negotiations and allowing interactions that get the involved parties to communicate “off the record.” When disputing parties trust the process, and know with certainty that the sessions are confidential, it allows each to engage in more honest, transparent, and meaningful interactions and explore potential resolutions that work for everyone without fear that the proposals or settlement offers will be used against them. Instead, the exchange can be considered as a starting point for continued dialogue, which — when facilitated properly — typically result in a legally binding resolution.

What is Considered Confidential During Mediation Sessions?

Typically, anything that gets said at mediation will be considered confidential.

That includes:

  1. Statements / Admissions Made
  2. Certain Documents and Evidence Submitted
  3. Monetary Negotiations
  4. Final Resolutions

What is more, all parties are strictly prohibited from inserting content from mediation negotiations into their court cases, if they cannot reach a settlement and continue with litigation.

Finally, the actual mediator’s statements, findings, and recommendations, if any, will also be considered confidential. Mediators cannot testify in the court case, and are generally barred from speaking with the judge, except for reporting whether a case settled or not.

If you would like to solve your personal or professional dispute outside of the courtroom, we are here to help provide a confidential negotiation platform that produces results.

Contact Blue Sky Mediation Center Today to Discuss Your Dispute Resolution Needs

Whether you are involved in a business dispute, beneficiary conflicts, employment disagreements, or are seeking solutions to personal injury negotiations, contact our San Diego County mediator at Blue Sky Mediation Center at 760.454.7277 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal needs today.

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