Mediation is an informal process where the parties involved in a civil suit agree to come together with their attorneys in an attempt to resolve the conflict of the suit with the aid of a mediator. A mediator is usually an attorney who does not have an interest in the dispute and aids the parties and their attorneys in settling their conflict.
The mediation process is confidential and voluntary, although most courts in West Virginia encourage mediation. Some even require it in certain cases. It's important to note that the mediator is not a judge, but a facilitator for discussion and negotiation between the parties.
Due to the costs associated with litigation as well as the uncertainty of the outcome of a trial, mediation is highly encouraged. Originally, mediation was a type of conflict resolution that was developed as an alternative to litigation. However, today it serves often as an integral part of the litigation process.
Dorwin J. Wolfe has participated in the mediation process for more than 18 years as both counsel for plaintiffs as well as counsel for insurance companies and their clients. Mr. Wolfe is a graduate of the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation program taught at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.