Seize the opportunity to control the outcome through mediation.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an informal, confidential dispute resolution process in which an independent and neutral third party mediator guides the parties to reach a compromised settlement of their claims.  While mediation is a voluntary process, it is considered such a worthwhile endeavor that it is required before a litigated case can proceed to trial in most jurisdictions in Montana.  Mediations most often involve a combination of the parties meeting together and in caucus (separately and privately) with the mediator.  A skilled mediator, adept at building rapport, helps the parties clarify and prioritize their interests, identifies solutions that may not have been considered, and uses creative techniques to encourage the parties to reach a compromise resolution.

What are the Benefits of Mediation?

Unlike the arbitration process, mediation presents the parties with a unique opportunity to retain control over the outcome of the dispute.  The parties are the ultimate decision-makers and a meeting of the minds must be reached through negotiation to achieve resolution of the case.  Arbitration and litigation, on the other hand, necessitate placing the decision regarding resolution in the hands of a third party – arbitrator, judge, or jury.  No third party is able to understand the nuances of a case as well as the parties themselves.  With the guidance of a skilled mediator, the parties themselves can explore creative options to arrive at the most advantageous (or least detrimental) solution for all involved, resulting in a higher rate of satisfaction with the outcome.  Mediation often leads to improved communication which allows the parties to restore, preserve, and even enhance their relationships.

Mediation is also less formal than arbitration, consisting largely of private conversations with the mediator.  While evidentiary rules may be considered in discussions with the parties in the context of analyzing what might be allowed in court, the parties are not restricted in what evidence/practical aspects of the case they can share with the mediator during the process.  In addition, the mediator will not share that information unless specifically authorized to do so.

When negotiations between parties fail, resolving a case through mediation is the fastest and often most economical way to reach a settlement.  Depending on how much time in mediation is required, arbitration, which is a more formal process than mediation, may result in similar expense but the parties do not retain control over the outcome.  Litigation is far more costly than either arbitration or mediation as a mean of resolving disputes and results in less satisfaction among parties that “win” and those that “lose” in court. 

How does the Process Work?

If all parties agree to mediate, a date can be requested through the calendar link , by calling (406) 304-4785, or by emailing  Please include the names of each party, names of attorneys involved, brief description of the type of case, whether it has been filed in court (including cause number if it has) and in what jurisdiction.  You will then receive a confirmation if the mediator has no conflict and the date requested is acceptable to all parties and the mediator.

Prior to the mediation date, the mediator will clarify the process, confirm the parameters, and address expectations with the parties and/or their attorneys.    Typically, the parties each submit information to the mediator at least one week prior to the scheduled mediation day in the form of a brief written statement outlining the facts, legal issues, current state of negotiations, and anything else the parties may want to include.  On the scheduled day, all parties and their attorneys meet either physically or virtually with the mediator to get the case settled.  The mediation process consists largely of private discussions with each side until a solution is reached.  If a solution is not reached, the parties can still proceed to other forms of dispute resolution, including arbitration and litigation. 

In-person or Online?

Pax Dispute Resolution Services offers both traditional in-person mediation as well as online mediation conferences. Pax’s philosophy is to provide the best service for the particular parties and attorneys involved.  In that vein, we can accommodate any combination of the use of technology or traditional means of transmitting information with either in-person or online mediation conferences.  Our job is to guide you on your path to peace, delivering the results you need in the way you want.