Mediation Services Now Available from De Palma & Associates
During the pandemic, I took it upon myself to become educated in another area – mediation.
As a paralegal, I have represented parties in numerous forms of mediation and have seen how successful it can be if both parties come to mediation with an open mind and intention to resolve the issue. For this reason, among others, I chose mediation as an area to learn and offer to our clients. I see this as an opportunity for myself and our clients due to the current court closure and inevitable backlog it will cause. Mediation can be used as an alternative to the court process or as a way to potentially resolve a dispute while waiting for a court appearance to be scheduled/rescheduled because of the COVID-19 shutdown.
Technically there is no requirement for mediators to complete an education program or register with a governing body like there is for paralegals and lawyers. It is however highly recommended to do so, which I have done. I have completed all of the required education courses needed to obtain my Qualified Mediator status with the ADR Institute of Ontario.
So what exactly is mediation and how does it work? Mediation is designed to assist parties in reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution of their dispute. The mediator does not make a decision for the parties or advise them in any way. The mediator is a neutral third party present to facilitate negotiation and discussion. The mediator does not draft a mediated settlement for the parties – the parties or their lawyer handle that aspect after an agreement is made.
I am offering mediation for all types of disputes including divorce/separation, estate disagreements, contract disputes, employment issues, etc. In keeping with my flat rate fee structure for paralegal services, I will be offering mediation services at a flat rate for a half-day mediation or a full-day mediation. As well, mediation sessions will either be conducted at our office locations (Wasaga Beach or Barrie) or any location suitable to the parties, so long as both parties consent to the location. Generally, the mediator’s office is the best place to hold the mediation session as it is a neutral ground for both parties.
It should also be noted that if I act as a mediator in a dispute I cannot then represent one party in any further legal action. The mediation process is entirely confidential – what is said in mediation cannot be repeated or used against a party in any further legal action.
With offices located in Barrie and Wasaga Beach, De Palma & Associates can also provide legal representation for Small Claims Court cases, landlord & tenant disputes, traffic tickets, United States entry waivers, criminal pardons (record suspensions) and document commissioning throughout the Georgian Bay area and the GTA. If you have any questions or require mediation or legal representation, give us a call at De Palma & Associates - (705) 429-2401.