Category Archives: Contract Mediation

Delivering an Effective Opening at Contract Mediation in Houston TX

After the mediator explains his or her role as a neutral facilitator, the confidentiality of the process and the ground rules for contract mediation in Houston Texas, each party is then given the opportunity to provide an opening statement.  This statement demonstrates the different perspectives that each party has and the interdependence that the parties have on each other to successfully conclude contract mediation in Houston Texas.  An effective opening statement sets the tone for negotiation.

The opening statement advocates for the client’s position and interests.  It explains his or her point of view regarding the legal issues in the case.  If the parties spend most of their time in private caucus, the opening statement can emphasize the client’s point of view and deliver a message that will resonate throughout mediation.

One effective way to deliver a message is to have empathy for the other side.  When a party blames the other, is argumentative or otherwise seems unreasonable, the opening statement may only serve to further polarize the parties.  However, if the party is able to express positive things about the other party and truly empathize with his or her plight, the opening statement is more likely to set a positive tone for mediation.

 While litigation involves an adversarial process, mediation is supported by a cooperative spirit between the parties.  An effective opening statement can discern a party’s inherent need to defend themselves and replace an adversarial feeling with mutual respect.

Five Stages to Contract Mediation in Houston TX

While every contract mediation in Houston TX is unique in its own right, the following five stages occur in most sessions of contract mediation in Houston TX:

Ground Rules

The mediator lays out the ground rules for the mediation process at the beginning of the meeting.  These rules often include showing respect to one another and not interrupting each other.  The mediator also explains his or her role as a neutral facilitator and the confidential nature of the process.

Understanding the Conflict

The mediator meets with the parties one-on-one or together to try to understand the nature of the conflict and the underlying reasons for why it occurred, such as one party believing the other has not fulfilled the terms of the contract.

Narrowing the Issues

The mediator then determines what the parties agree on and what they do not.  The mediator may summarize the main points of agreement and contention to ensure that he or she is on the right track.

Considering Options

The mediator will then flesh out possible options on how different issues can be resolved.  The parties may be encouraged to brainstorm ideas and be instructed not to dismiss anything right away.  The mediator may give the parties evaluation criteria to weigh whether particular options will likely serve their individual and mutual interests.


The mediator has the attorneys for the parties draw up the agreement that the parties have made and has all parties sign it.

Preparing for Contract Mediation in Houston TX

As with most legal processes, thorough preparation is key to success. Although most attorneys do not feel that mediation requires the same level of preparation as if they were conducting a trial, the reality is that mediation often provides the chance to settle the case on a final basis, so taking preparation seriously is a necessity. Planning well for contract mediation in Houston Texas makes settlement much more likely, as the attorneys are better prepared to help their clients negotiate and make an informed decision about their case. As attorneys approach contract mediation in Houston Texas, they should take certain steps to prepare.

The approaching mediation session may be the hundredth for the attorneys, but it is likely the first for the clients. Many attorneys underestimate the importance of preparing their clients for mediation. Most clients experience anxiety about litigation and legal claims because they do not know what to expect. Attorneys should meet with their clients prior to mediation and walk them through what to expect during the session. During mediation, the clients will be able to focus on settling the case, instead of wondering what will happen next.

Attorneys should also take the time to review their case file prior to mediation. In cases that have been active for some time, the attorneys may have forgotten a few facts or events that may be relevant during mediation. Another good practice is to create a separate mediation folder and place necessary documents in it for quick reference during mediation.

Contract Disputes in Houston Texas That Belong in Mediation

If your client is dealing with a contract dispute wherein there is a lot of disagreement over who is at fault, how much blame is on either side, or how much money is owed to whom, mediation can help settle these problems.

Mediation allows for all parties to meet in a neutral location to discuss concerns. If all parties are willing to work together to arrive at a resolution, this is a first step towards a successful mediation. Mediation takes a different approach than litigation by fostering an atmosphere based on open communication.

Some people believe the misconception that complicated contract disputes are too difficult for mediation. This is not true, as many disputing parties have been able to effectively work through complex contract issues outside of court. Part of this is due to the fact that parties are encouraged to work together. When parties are motivated to resolve the situation rather than keep it going, contract mediation can work well.

When you’re dealing with contract disputes in Houston Texas, as with anything else, it’s important to consider all potential deciding factors. Mediation can be very helpful in your client’s case.

Why Should Contract Disputes Go Through Mediation?

Rather than allowing the issue to escalate to litigation, many attorneys are advising their clients about the potential results available through mediation. For a number of Houston contract disputes, it makes sense to recommend this alternative to your clients. Unfortunately, litigation is not the best solution for everyone, but thankfully there are other options.

As an attorney, the evidence for your client’s case might not be strong enough to make it worth his or her while to head into court. Or perhaps the client is not interested in paying for your time over what could turn out to be a lengthy process in court. This is where you should consider presenting the option of mediation instead.

Contract disputes are often over one or two key issues, and these typically do not always require the insight of a judge to determine a solution. Solutions in court are also limited, and one or both parties could walk away with an outcome they don’t want or weren’t expecting. Rather than gamble on a potentially bad outcome, your client may be better off trying to work with the other party in mediation. With more flexibility and a higher likelihood that the issue can be resolved in much less time, mediation is an obvious choice for many contract dispute cases. Although the law has specific remedies available for contract conflicts, mediation gives the parties an opportunity to generate something tied more closely to their needs.