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Why I Turned to Mediation

July 21, 2015  | 
Why I Turned to Mediation by Clare Piro

{3:36 minutes to read}  

When I practiced family law in an adversarial setting, I always felt a little guilty when I said that I enjoyed it, given that I was working with people who were going through one of the worst times of their lives. But in contrast to the other parts of my practice (real estate and estate matters), family law was interesting, dynamic, and challenging. Presenting and opposing arguments was intellectually stimulating based upon the substantial case law. I also genuinely liked most of my clients and felt that I was helping them in advocating for them.

What I didn’t enjoy was:

  • The lack of control over the process;

  • The constant waiting for another attorney to respond;

  • Waiting for the court to take action;

  • The delaying tactics that could be employed by the other party;

  • The cost of needless litigation to my client; and most of all,

  • The negative impact that the adversarial process could have on clients and their children.

When I finally took mediation training 10 years ago, I joined every mediation organization I could find, immersed myself in the mediation community, and took advanced training and workshops, eager to learn more.

What is it about mediation that resonated with me personally as opposed to my belief that it’s the best option for most couples separating?

  • Every mediation is different. Like my former adversarial practice, mediation remains a stimulating and challenging endeavor. But unlike my former practice, the focus is on helping the parties come to a mutual resolution.

  • It is less stressful. This doesn’t mean that I no longer think about my clients or obsess over some of my cases outside of the meetings. It does mean that, for the most part, I don’t stay awake at night or ruin my vacation stressing over a litigated case.

  • I’m part of a solution rather than part of a problem. I like the fact that, in most cases, there is a positive outlook in mediation and a focus on moving forward. In the adversarial process, it was my experience that most cases focused on the past in terms of blame and using those past occurrences as a reason for your client to receive something more.

At least for me, there seemed to be something inherent in the adversarial process that occasionally overtook me; I took things too personally and sometimes engaged in non-productive behavior. I like not doing that any longer.

Of course, there are most definitely some matters that should be handled by attorneys and have no place in mediation. And most of the attorneys with whom I worked were responsible advocates and settlement-oriented, and they tried to do the best for their clients without eviscerating the other party.  I just find that, for myself, mediation is a much better fit.
Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
500 Mamaroneck Avenue | Suite 320
Harrison, NY 10528
Tel: 914.946.0848

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