WHO: In St. Louis, the normal practice is for the disagreeing parties to meet privately with the mediator. When one party wants to mediate, they will ask the other party if a particular mediator would be acceptable. Often times Dr. Z will talk to each party separately over the phone to assess the situation and ensure that they both find him acceptable to mediate their issues in a neutral manner. (Note: Although attorneys are allowed to participate in this process, Dr. Z has seen the process work better when attorneys are not physically present.)
WHAT: Dr. Z will sit down with both parties and have a consultation session where he asks the parties what brings them to mediation. He wants to know (a) what they hope to get out of the sessions, (b) how they think mediation works, and (c) what their expectations for the process are. He also highlights his expectations for the parties.
WHERE: Dr. Z will mediate in any “private and neutral” location. As long as both parties agree to a location, Dr. Z will mediate at workplaces, government buildings, and community centers.
WHEN: The specific scheduling for the mediation process will depend on the parties’ schedules. The scheduling for court-ordered mediations is always more time sensitive and will be given priority.
WHY: Individuals and organizations use mediation because it is an effective way to address a wide range of disputes. It is confidential — meaning that anything learned during the process of mediation is not admissible in court. It is much cheaper than using the legal system to solve problems because it moves more quickly. Although it is difficult to talk when we are angry or hurt, mediation is a very effective process that reminds people they can communicate about difficult issues and move on with their lives. When ongoing relationships are present, as is the case in many divorces, workplace disputes, and business transactions, mediation is a great tool to move beyond and learn from conflict.
TIME COMMITMENT: The length of time for each mediation session and the total number of sessions depends on the type of conflict, the availability of the disputants, and the progress made during each session. Dr. Z will works with both sides to create an appropriate schedule to discuss and resolve the issues.
RATES: Dr. Schaefer charges $150.00 per hour. This is a very reasonable price as many attorney-mediators charge one hundred dollars more than this figure and paralegals are billed between $120.00 – 150.00 per hour.