RESOLUTION THROUGH COMMUNICATION
A critical part of mediation is not only to listen but to provide an opportunity to foster true communications. A mediation is about the parties, not the mediator. The goal must be to assist the parties in arriving at their mutual result, not what the mediator believes is the rights solution. As a result, we recognize that every mediation is unique. We provide the opportunity and environment to help foster a process tailored to achieving your resolution.
We are prepared to handle a broad array of mediation and arbitration including civil and commercial cases whether business litigation, fraud, consumer, and personal injury cases.
WHY CHOOSE US?
Austin ADR was founded by Howard Siegel as a full service mediation and arbitration provider.
Howard graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelors of Arts in Economics in 1990 and earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center in 1993. Howard has practiced in Austin, Texas since 1993. He is admitted to the bars of the states of Texas and Oklahoma and is licensed in Federal district courts, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
Howard is a trained mediator and arbitrator. He is a Qualified Mediator with the Austin Association of Mediators.
Howard has handled over 200 arbitrations primarily in the medical, commercial, and financial sectors.
"Our commitment to you is to bring the highest level of professionalism and focus to the needs of your dispute resolution."
Arbitration, properly administered, can result in the accurate resolution of a dispute in a manner that is speedy, efficient, final, and confidential.
Speed. Where a civil lawsuit can take two years or more from filing through disposition at the trial court level. The appeal that follows can take another year or more, studies have found Arbitrations to generally be resolved in less than ten months.
Efficiency. Unlike civil lawsuits that often become mired in excessive, inefficient, and expensive pre-trial discovery and motion practice: voluminous and expensive productions of hard copy and electronic documents; numerous, lengthy depositions; motion practice over the sufficiency of discovery responses; and many additional motions, including summary judgment, in limine, Daubert motions, and occasionally motion practice over motion practice, such as motions to exceed page limit or to file a sur-reply, with every motion followed by at least a response and reply, Arbitration tytpically have little, if any, motion practice, and formal discovery is limited.
Finality. Arbitration agreements typically provide that an arbitration award is final and binding. There is no appeal from a final arbitration award. Arbitrators cannot second guess their rulings and can only modify an award for clerical or computational errors. Under the Federal and Texas Arbitration Acts, recourse in the courts from an arbitration award is limited to extraordinary situations such as corruption, fraud, evident partiality, or a refusal to hear material evidence.
Confidentiality. Arbitration agreements may, and typically many do, provide that arbitration proceedings will be confidential. Even absent such an agreement by the parties, the arbitrator and administering organization are usually required to maintain confidentiality.
Accuracy. Jurors almost always try to do their best to correctly decide a case. Unfortunately, in many cases, jurors are not equipped, by education or professional experience, to decide particular issues accurately. This is particularly true in more complex and technical cases.
Understanding the process early is key to a successful mediation.
Our goal is to remain flexible to meet your needs. We offer mediations at our location. However, where there is agreement by the parties for an alternative location, mediations can be held in alternative locations. Our mediation schedule anticipates either full day or half Day mediation services. However, upon request and depending on the case, we may be able to provide a two (2) hour mediation.
Please click on the preferred date and time slot to submit a mediation request.
If you want to mediate on a specific date that is not available, please contact us as it may be possible to re-arrange our schedule to accommodate your needs.
Upon review of our calendar, select a preferred date and time that is agreeable to all parties. Upon receipt of your request, we will confirm respond as to whether we can accommodate that particular date and time. Once we have confirmed the date with the parties, the selected mediation time will become “unavailable” for other potential mediations. If the parties prefer a specific date and time that is not available, contact us so that we may determine if a schedule can be re-arranged to accommodate your request.
Once you select a date and time slot, you will be asked to complete a Mediation Intake Form.
All mediation fees are due before mediation begins. Unless otherwise agreed by the mediator, each party represented by an attorney is a considered a “separate party” and is responsible for its mediation fee. The start of the mediation may be delayed while payments are being submitted
Time spent talking with attorneys and/or parties and/or reviewing documents before mediation and/or after mediation is included in the cost of mediation.
Full Day Mediation
$1,400.00 per party
Mediation will begin at 9:00 AM unless otherwise agreed by the parties.
Mediations that continue after 6:00 PM will be billed at $175/hour per party.
Lunch is provided.
Half Day Mediation
$800.00 per party
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM or 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Snacks will be provided.
Two Hour Mediation
$475.00 per party
9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM, or 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Snacks will be provided.
When available, Austin ADR will mediate cases on Saturdays and Sundays. Costs for Saturday or Sunday mediation will be billed at 125% of the applicable full day or half day rate
Austin ADR maintains a flexible policy regarding cancellations/rescheduling. When notified 72 hours in advance, we will waive all charges for a cancelled mediation if the mediation is rescheduled. If the mediation is not rescheduled or less than 72 hours, but more than 24 hours, notice is provided, a cancellation fee equal to half of the scheduled mediation charge will be billed to each party. If your mediation is scheduled for a Monday, you will need to notify us no later than 9:00 AM on Thursday to avoid a cancellation cost. If your mediation is cancelled within 24 hours of a scheduled and confirmed mediation, you will be billed and you agree to pay the full cost of the session you reserved
As part of the scheduling process, the following documents and forms will be provided for your review and/or completion.
Rules for Mediation
Confidential Information Form
Mediation Intake Form
Mediation Attendance Form
IRS Form W-9
TYPES OF CASES
We are prepared to handle a broad array of mediation including civil and commercial cases whether business litigation, fraud, consumer, and personal injury cases. A partial list of cases includes:
Defamation/ Slander/ Libel
Personal Injury Law
Probate, Estate and Will Contests and Guardianship Matters
In additional to handling mediations in the Austin area, we can also help you find a mediator outside of Austin.
DAY OF THE MEDIATION
Although each mediation is unique, the process of the mediation has a number of common features that are usually implemented.
1. Opening Joint Session
Typically, a mediation will begin with Joint Session that includes the mediator with all parties and their attorneys. The Joint Session typically beings with the mediator making a brief opening statement/introduction. This provides an opportunity to review the rules for mediation and explain the process for the day.
After the opening statement, the attorneys are asked to make a brief “opening statement,” The goal is to share what each side believes the case is about including the steps the led to the dispute, what resolution the parties believe is appropriate and any additional information that may assist in the successful resolution of the dispute. There will usually be an opportunity for the parties to speak. This is a valuable and sometimes difficult part of the Joint Session. Parties are asked to use this time to listen to the other side to understand the other side’s perspective rather than wanting to argue with a position to which they often disagree.
Finally, after a brief closing by the mediator, the Joint Session concludes.
2. Individual Caucuses
The mediator then meets with each party in private to review what has been said during the Joint Session. The goal is to begin to understand each party’s interest in resolving the case. Individual caucuses can include the mediator asking probing questions to best understand how each party feels about their positions, learn more about the facts of the case and the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case.
During the individual caucuses, each party may disclose things that the party wants the mediator to know but wants kept confidential from the other party. These confidences will be kept and will not be disclose unless that party gives specific permission.
Individual caucuses will vary in length and are likely to be repeated multiple times. At the end of each individual caucus, the mediator will typically be looking for an offer or counter-offer to share with the other side in an effort to resolve the case.
3. Attorney Meetings
During some meditations, there may be occasions when the mediator will ask to meet with just the attorneys either in another joint session or with one party’s attorney in an effort to better understand to get a better understanding of how the case may be resolved.
If at any time during the process the mediator determines the parties cannot resolve their case, an impasse will be declared. This may happen in the individual caucuses or another Joint Session may be held. If there is an impasse, the mediator will attempt to provide a summary of the day and offer advice/suggestions on what their next course of action should be.
If an agreement has been reached by all parties, the mediator will assist the parties with the preparation of a Mediated Settlement Agreement. Once the terms of the Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) are negotiated and in, the parties and their counsel will sign the MSA. The MSA is an enforceable settlement agreement as contemplated by Section 154.071 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code.
AFTER THE MEDIATION
If your case settles in mediation, the mediator will report back to the court if there is the case that has been filed that the parties mediated the case and the case settled. The court will also be informed that the parties will be providing the appropriate dismissal and/or non-suit documents to the court for entry.
If your case does not settle, the lack of settlement will also be reported to the court. No details from the settlement, e.g. settlement offers made or rejected, will be shared with the court.
Even if a settlement is not achieved, we remain committed to working with the parties and their attorneys. This may include additional phone calls and reviewing additional materials for the purpose of assisting the parties in further attempts to settle their case.
PREPARING FOR MEDIATION
A successful mediation does not just happen. It requires time and preparation by all the participants. Everybody has a role. The attorneys, the clients, and the mediator all work toward achieving a resolution that can resolve a conflict and allow the parties to devote their time and resources to other endeavors.
1. Prior to scheduling a mediation, counsel shall confirm with that your client is available to mediate on that date with a representative that has full knowledge of the case and full settlement authority.
2. Once a date has been confirmed by all parties, we will send all counsel a Mediation Packet that will include a date confirmation, the cost of mediation, rules for mediation including explanations of confidentiality, a signed copy of our w-9 Form and other logistical information.
3. At least two weeks prior to mediation, each party should complete and return the attendance form and review payment and cancellation policies.
4. Confidential information form and any other documents you want your mediator to review, shall be submitted no less than three (3) days prior to the mediation date. Such information may include a short case-summary (jointly prepared is recommended); brief references to any useful deposition testimony and documents; motions and/or briefs on any pending issues.
5. If payment has not been made prior to the mediation date, bring your method of payment to the mediation. Payment is due before mediation begins.
Answers You Need
CONTACT US TO SCHEDULE YOUR MEDIATION
WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a process where people involved in a dispute meet with a neutral, third party—a mediator—who is trained to guide them through a structured negotiation process. Mediators provide a safe, neutral environment and a format for effective communication. They don’t dictate a settlement, but instead help the individuals involved reach their own mutually agreeable solution. Mediation requires that the individuals in conflict be willing to express their concerns openly and honestly, and consider the concerns of the other party in the dispute. Collaboration between the parties is encouraged so that creative solutions that meet each party’s unique needs can be explored and lasting solutions found.
WHY CHOOSE MEDIATION OVER LITIGATION?
1. Mediation is faster, cheaper, and often more effective than litigation.
Litigation can go on for years. Mediation is usually started and completed in a matter of weeks even for complex cases.
2. Mediation is all about “win-win.”
During mediation, parties craft resolutions that work for them long term, rather than having a judgment imposed by a court. In litigation there is a winner and a loser. Plus, someone else—a judge or jury—has control of the outcome. Mediation studies show that people follow through on mediated agreements at a higher rate they do on court-issued judgments.
3. Mediation leads to peaceful, long-term resolution.
Parties who work through mediation have a much better chance of preserving on-going relationships. Mediation also allows parties the opportunity to work through difficult emotional issues—the kind of issues that often get worse during litigation.
IS MEDIATION CONFIDENTIAL?
Mediation is confidential. Court processes, on the other hand, create a public record. Nothing said or disclosed in the mediation can be used against any party outside the mediation (with some legally required exceptions such as child abuse). Mediators are bound by confidentiality agreements and generally cannot be subpoenaed or required to testify about the substance of a mediation session. The confidential nature of the mediation process creates a safe place for participants to talk and make offers they might not otherwise be comfortable making.
IS MEDIATION LEGALLY BINDING?
Mediation is a non-binding process. The mediator cannot issue any binding rulings or impose any findings on the parties. However, if the parties resolve their case during mediation and sign a Mediated Settlement Agreement, the parties are bound by the terms of that agreement.
WHY DOES MEDIATION WORK?
Mediation works because the parties involved have an opportunity to be heard. They leave the mediation knowing that their concerns and needs have been met and addressed through the settlement agreement reached. The agreement was created entirely by the parties involved and was not imposed by others so it’s much more likely to last.