Category: Mediation

Family Law ADR: Alternatives to the Courtroom

October 13, 2022  |  Jason C. Brown

To the surprise (and relief) of many, only a small portion of the family cases we handle wind up in trial. The vast majority of the time our attorneys are able to negotiate a favorable settlement. Our firm has a reputation for success in the courtroom. Still, we consider trial as a last resort. Why is it important to focus on settlement efforts before trial? We find that the litigants will save substantial time and money if matters are resolved sooner than later. We also find that the parties are far more likely to abide by the terms of the agreement if they have created it. Most importantly, by working toward settlement our clients maintain control over the outcome, rather than handing that authority over to a judge. There are a number of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) models available to family court litigants. Mediation is a common process in which the parties and lawyers hire a neutral to facilitate a conversation about the issues. The mediator is there to offer suggestions on how to resolve matters but takes no position concerning the issues. Most mediators are experienced family law attorneys who have shifted their practice to ADR after many years in the courtroom. Evaluative mediation involves the retention of a neutral but gives…

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Early Mediation in Your Civil Litigation Case: A Time and Cost Saver, or a Waste of Time and Money?

August 19, 2022  |  Joan M. Quade

The short answer is that it depends. But there are many cases where, with hindsight, we can say that it would have been beneficial to try early mediation. There are some cases where we tried early mediation and they settled before the parties spent a lot of money and time. These are usually the happiest litigants. In my 35 years as a lawyer and advocate for litigants, in many different types of civil litigation cases, and my years as a mediator and an arbitrator, I can tell you that there are many cases that would, and many that did, do well in early mediation. There are also many more cases, especially in the last years, that should have tried early mediation and settled. Litigation should be a last resort for dispute resolution. It costs too much, and it takes too long. Good lawyers, who have a thorough understanding of the law and experience in the litigation process, and who are representing reasonable clients, should be able to negotiate a settlement with the help of a skilled mediator. More and more the parties wish, as they slog through the litigation process, that they would have settled earlier in the process, instead of spending the money and time it takes to litigate. 96% of all…

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Scott Lepak to Present on Police Arbitration Reform to Minnesota State Bar

November 12, 2020  |  Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.

On Friday, November 20, Barna, Guzy & Steffen attorney, Scott Lepak, will co-present a one-hour program on the practical impacts of the new Minnesota Police Accountability Act in the arbitration process. The program, which is sponsored by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a part of continuing legal education, will be held online beginning at noon. Lepak, who is also the Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Mediation Services, will discuss how the legislative changes are impacting the agency, how they select the panel of arbitrators, and the rulemaking needed for the process. Immediately following the main presentation, Scott, along with attorney/labor union arbitration specialist Gregg Corwin, will share strategies for advising clients in this area, as well as examine the questions that are left unanswered in the wake of these changes. Both presenters are experts in legal arbitration and will offer insights on what to expect from this new process. To reserve your spot, visit The deadline to register is 2pm on Thursday, November 19. Barna, Guzy & Steffen has an outstanding team of labor law professionals available to talk to you about your specific needs. Contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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