FAQ - Mediations

What is alternative dispute resolution (ADR)?

Alternative dispute resolution refers to either mediation or arbitration as opposed to litigation.


How long have you been providing mediation services in California?

Since 1998. Please see my biography for additional information.


Do you act as an arbitrator in cases?

No. Arbitrations are very different from mediations, I prefer my role as a mediator.


What are the Benefits of mediation?

The most common advantages are:

  • The mediator, as a neutral third party, can view the dispute objectively and can assist the parties in exploring alternatives that they might not have considered on their own.
  • Parties almost always save money by reducing the hours spent by legal counsel.
  • Parties increase the possibility of continuing a relationship (if necessary or desired) with each other.
  • Documents and testimony presented do not have to become part of the public record. In fact, discussions that take place are protected by the confidentiality imposed on the mediator and on the parties by Evidence Code Sections 1152 and 1152.5
  • The emotional stress that usually accompanies the more combative, drawn out process of litigation is eliminated.
  • The possibility of an adverse court judgment is avoided.


How much is the cost of mediating a dispute?

My fee is $200 per hour which is divided evenly by the parties. I request a four-hour minimum payable in advance. I accept credit cards or checks.


Are mediation briefs required?

No. They are helpful and save time, but they are not required.


What should a non-attorney include in a mediation brief before a mediation?

Mediation briefs are preferred by mediators, but they are not required. See: Mediation Briefs for Non-Attorneys


How do we start the mediation process?

The best way to get started is to complete and submit a Request for Mediation form which is on this website. Upon receipt, we will contact you with any questions. We will then send a copy to the other party or parties for their completion and agreement to participate in mediation. Upon receipt of the fully signed forms and payment, we will then contact all parties to establish an acceptable date and time.


Are mediations usually successful?

Nationally, over 85% of mediations result in a settlement, thus avoiding litigation. Most importantly, since all parties consent to the final agreement, compliance exceeds 90%, far exceeding the results following litigation.


How long does it take to mediate most cases?

From four to eight hours. I have a four-hour minimum.


Is mediation binding?

A mediator does not have the power to render a binding decision. The objective of mediation is for the mediator to assist the parties in agreeing to a settlement. Once the agreement is reduced to writing, it becomes enforceable.


Do you provide mediation services in connection with matters not listed on your website?

Yes. Call for a no-cost consultation so we can discuss your specific needs.


Am I required to be represented by an attorney in the mediation?

No. While most people are represented by an attorney, you are not required to be represented. That is your decision.


Can you provide us with a sample Settlement Agreement?

Yes: See: Binding Settlement and Release Agreement After Mediation. This is a sample only. It is not intended as legal advice.


Are mediations conducted in person or by Zoom Meeting?

In order to keep the price down. I conduct all mediations by Zoom.


Are you available on weekends or in the evening?

Yes. I am completely flexible as long as I receive sufficient notice of your requirements.


Assuming we settle the dispute, who will draft the settlement agreement?

If the parties are represented by attorneys, they will jointly be responsible for drafting the settlement agreement. If the parties are not represented at the mediation, I will complete a standard settlement form which the parties can then take to their respective attorneys for modification and/or approval.


What happens if we don't resolve the dispute at our mediation session?

You can schedule another mediation session, attempt to arbitrate the matter, or you can let a court decide who will prevail. Mediation is almost always the best alternative.


Who must attend a mediation?

The parties who have the power to agree to a settlement must attend the mediation. Parties may be represented by legal counsel, but they may also bring expert witnesses and percipient witnesses to a mediation to assist is setting a dispute.


Am I required to attempt to settle a dispute before filing a lawsuit?

It depends on the agreement between the parties. Some require mediation and some don't. In any event, mediation is far less expensive and risky than litigation, making it an excellent way to resolve most disputes more quickly, and at far less cost.


Do you have the expertise to mediate a construction defect case?

Absolutely. I have more than 20 years of extensive experience with construction defect cases.


Can you provide us with a standard contract mediation provision?

Yes. See: Sample Mediation Clause.


What are your normal business hours?

The office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to Noon and from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Mediations can be scheduled during normal business hours or in the evening, or on weekends.



Michael Chulak