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Understanding Mediation

Mediation continues to gain popularity as an alternative to traditional litigation. The advantage of mediation is threefold: a confidential process, a quicker resolution, and less expense. During mediation, parties involved in a dispute discuss their case with an impartial and unbiased third party — the mediator — with the goal of reaching a mutually acceptable resolution. Mediation is generally voluntary; however, in many instances, a judge will order the parties to mediate their dispute prior to holding a trial.

As a neutral third party, the mediator serves as a facilitator. A skilled mediator helps the parties come to a voluntary, mutually acceptable resolution. The mediator has no authority to render a decision, nor can a lawyer acting as a mediator offer legal advice or counsel to either party during the mediation. Upon a successful mediation, the mediator will present the parties with an agreement outlining the terms of the settlement. Usually, the parties and their attorneys will execute this agreement. Typically, the party’s respective attorneys will then jointly draft a more detailed settlement agreement that is signed by the parties.

Common types of cases that may benefit from mediation include:

  • Personal injury
  • Estate and trust disputes and will contests
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Construction claims
  • Commercial transactions

Mediation can be a suitable alternative to other forms of dispute resolution for many reasons, including affordability, time sensitivity, and confidentiality. In addition, enlisting a mediator’s services can help settle disputes while preserving relationships.

Mediation and Arbitration

In addition to regularly representing its own clients in mediations and arbitrations, Peetz Koerwitz & Lafleur also provides alternative dispute resolution services to help other parties resolve their legal issues. With two large, physically separated conference rooms, our Lincoln location provides a comfortable, confidential setting for even the most contentious of disputes. And with two more dedicated conference rooms, we’re able to accommodate multiparty meditations on-site.

Patient and knowledgeable, our mediators are skilled in the art of compromise. Years of experience in their practice areas and a thorough understanding of the legal issues inform their ability to help opposing parties find middle ground. Jeffery Peetz and Brian Koerwitz, both members of the Nebraska Mediation Association, comprise the Firm’s Mediation Group.

Jeffery Peetz focuses his mediation and arbitration practice on estate- and trust-related disputes. With three decades of experience in trust and estate planning, there’s not much Jeffery hasn’t seen. He understands the ins and outs of succession planning for businesses and families, and he’s particularly cognizant of how these plans affect families. In addition, his background in banking law, agriculture, and real estate give him a broad knowledge base. With a poised, professional temperament to match, Jeffery has all the attributes of a successful mediator.

Brian Koerwitz mediates commercial and residential construction disputes. Having represented owners and builders, general contractors and subs, lenders and borrowers, Brian understands the issues from every perspective. By focusing on the relevant facts, he quickly identifies the important legal issues and helps the parties recognize the strengths and weaknesses in their respective positions. This no-nonsense approach, coupled with Brian’s easy-going personality, enables him to successfully help parties negotiate a settlement.


How long does mediation last?
The length of the overall mediation process depends on the complexity of the dispute at hand. While some cases may be resolved in just a few hours, it is not unusual for mediation to last a full day. Sometimes the parties may make progress without reaching a resolution and will agree to come back for follow-up sessions with the mediator.
Does the mediator meet with the parties separately or jointly?

At the discretion of the mediator, a joint session may occur at the beginning of the mediation to share procedural information with all of the parties. During the course of the mediation, however, the parties are in separate rooms, and the mediator alternates between the rooms sharing information and working to negotiate an agreement between the parties.

Mediation can be a beneficial and appropriate path to resolve many conflicts and disputes. The mediators at Peetz Koerwitz & Lafleur focus on understanding the needs of the parties, addressing conflicts efficiently and collaboratively, and finding a workable solution for all involved. Reach out to schedule a mediation session today.

Is mediation confidential?

In Nebraska, mediation is generally subject to the Nebraska Uniform Mediation Act. Iowa and Wyoming have similar laws. Under those laws, communications made during mediation are deemed privileged and confidential, unless those protections are waived by the parties.