Deal Breakers to Construction Mediation in Houston TX

Parties who agree to construction mediation in Houston TX often do so because they realize the vast benefits of this alternative to litigation.  If conducted properly, construction mediation in Houston TX can result in a faster, less stressful, and more affordable option than pursuing litigation.  However, some barriers, if not dealt with properly, can cause mediation to fail.

Systemic Distrust

If the parties do not trust the process of mediation or the other party, this can be an enormous challenge.  A mediator can help explain that mediation can help avoid the larger system of litigation and the judicial system.  He or she can also help the parties see what they have in common and help build up trust throughout the process.

Failing to Communicate

Mediation relies heavily on the ability of the parties to communicate.  They must be able to express their underlying interests to the mediator so that he or she can help the parties negotiate possible resolutions of their case.  Additionally, the parties may need to communicate with each other to make an eventual agreement.

Wrong Perceptions

When the parties have the wrong perceptions about the other party, this may create a barrier to resolution.  If they do not believe that the other party is acting in good faith, there will be less incentive for them to do so.

Not Demonstrating Respect

It can be difficult for parties to go from adversaries in a litigated case to cooperative partners.  However, a mediator can establish ground rules that require the mutual display of 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.

Avoiding Communication Barriers in Trade Secrets Mediation in Houston TX

Trade secrets mediation in Houston TX is often complex cases that may be emotionally triggered, too.  When a business owner invests in a business, he or she often puts everything into it.  If he or she believes that information is being misappropriated, the result may be extreme.  Trade secrets mediation in Houston TX can help the parties resolve their case in an amicable manner.  However, in order to accomplish this goal, the parties must be able to communicate effectively.

Communication barriers disrupt the dialogue between the parties and may even escalate conflict.  When a barrier exists between the parties, a party may feel defensive and may react negatively to what the other party says.  Some examples of communication barriers include:

  • You statements – these are blaming statements that say that you are the cause of the problem
  • Judging statements – these statements are often based on incorrect and negative assumptions
  • Self-serving biases – By viewing the facts related to the case only from one party’s own perspective, that party feels victimized and has no trust in the other party
  • Attribution error – This occurs when one party attributes some type of negative characteristic to the other party that is not accurate
  • Poor interpersonal communication – Communication of this nature may cause face-losing interactions that create a barrier to communication

Mediators know about these common communication barriers and will use various methods to help break them down.  This increases the likelihood that the parties will be able to work out a mutually beneficial outcome to their case.  At the beginning of mediation, the mediator establishes ground rules regarding the proper conduct of the parties.  Additionally, if he or she believes that the parties will not communicate well together during any stage of the mediation, he or she employs the use of private caucuses in which the mediator meets one-on-one with each party separate from the other party. The mediator can often discern the message of the party but relay it in a more approachable way to the other party.  The mediator also helps clear up misunderstandings that may be standing in the way of an agreement.

Using Active Listening in Personal Injury Mediation in Houston TX

A professional mediator utilizes a number of important skills to effectively advocate for settlement by the parties during personal injury mediation in Houston TX.  One of these skills is actively listening.  By engaging in active listening, a mediator can help communicate with the parties better throughout the process of personal injury mediation in Houston TX.

Research indicates that many people ignore anywhere between 70 and 90 percent of what someone says to them.  Instead of listening, many people simply formulate a response to what the other person is saying rather than really focusing on what that party is saying.  However, if a mediator follows this general trend, a lot of relevant, important information will be lost.  Mediators know how important it is to actively listen, especially in cases involving personal injuries.  A mediator provides undivided attention to the person who is speaking in order to gather all of the necessary information that is being conveyed.

An effective strategy to actively listen is to rephrase what the speaker said in one’s own words.  The speaker then communicates whether this interpretation was correct or not.  If the mediator is correct, the speaker feels affirmed.  If the mediator’s summary is incorrect, the speaker can correct any misunderstandings.  This method helps clarify important facts and issues.

Active listening helps ensure that the person listening understands what is being said.  It helps build trust and rapport between the mediator and the speaker.  After the speaker sees the mediator performing this ritual, he or she may begin to copy it when communicating with the other party, leading to clarity and better understanding.

Issues in Family Law Mediation

Attorneys represent families in a variety of cases including divorce, child custody, child support, visitation and domestic violence cases.  In most of these situations, it is in the best interests of all parties involved to pursue and participate in mediation.  In fact, most Courts require mediation prior to final hearing. Mediation provides a less expensive and less adversarial option than litigation.  When the spouses have children together or must otherwise maintain a cordial relationship, it is important that they align their interests and learn how to deal with each other in a productive manner.  It is important that the parties at the mediation negotiate in a manner that is in the best interest of the children. I require it, and so do the Courts. Some stumbling blocks that parties may encounter during mediation include:

Lack of Preparation

Parties may blindly enter the mediation process with no idea of what to expect or knowledge of what is expected of them.  Family law attorneys can help explain the process of mediation to their clients.  Additionally, attorneys can assist by preparing the case through proper research and documentation.

High Emotions

When dealing with children, property and money, it is common for people to become highly emotional.  The parties may need to vent their frustration with what they perceive as deceptive or unfair behavior by the other party.  Attorneys can be particularly helpful at the beginning of mediation by explaining their client’s side in a matter-of-fact manner.  Additionally, it can be more effective for parties to vent during a private session so that the parties do not begin with such bad blood.  This way, they can express their feelings and then transition into moving onto the issues at hand.  On the other hand, a general session can allow both parties to vent their hurt feelings and frustrations to their spouses, especially if they never had the opportunity to do so prior to their separation.

Focus on Past Misdeeds

Another hurdle that the parties must overcome is the desire to focus on each other’s past misdeeds.  A skilled mediator can often effectively handle this issue by having a comprehensive general session.  He or she explains the mediator’s role to serve as a neutral facilitator of communication.  He or she states that the purpose of mediation is to help resolve the issues that are currently plaguing the parties.  The mediator also sets ground rules at this point, such as refraining from talking disrespectfully to one another, cursing, or otherwise disrupting the process through inappropriate behavior.  Even if the parties have had a poor relationship in recent history, the mediator strives to get the parties to consider the future.

Poor Negotiation

Many people involved in mediation are not trained negotiators.  When going through mediation, parties should avoid behaviors that are adverse to assisting their interests.  For example, making outlandish demands will only create more bad blood and make that participant appear less credible.  The parties should negotiate the case as a business deal rather than negotiating on emotions. Attorneys can assist their clients with this issue by discussing beforehand the negotiation style that the attorney uses.  It should be well established when the client will talk and when the attorney will talk.  A good rule of thumb is for the attorney to ask to talk to his or her client privately after each potential settlement offer so that the client can receive candid advice about the repercussions of such agreements.