For detailed information concerning the mediation services that Ms.
Gelbin offers, simply click on one of the links below.
The premise of mediation is that people know and care best about their
Mediation can provide a relaxed and informal setting in which to
resolve disputes as opposed to the often hostile and competitive environment
of a courtroom.
Mediation is confidential and voluntary. Although some cases are
ordered into mediation, the parties can not be compelled to enter
into a settlement.
Ms. Gelbin's goal is to fairly and efficiently mediate disputes between
parties so that each parties' best interest is maximized. Her duty
is to be neutral and objective. Her method is to:
- listen to the parties and attorneys and collect information and
data about the cases;
- inquire as to each participant's knowledge of the law and facts;
- test each participant's evaluation of the case; and
- cultivate each party's understanding of their own and the other
parties' maximal best interests under the circumstances in an effort
to reach a meeting of the minds and to draft a Memorandum of Understanding.
Each parties' attorney can use the Memorandum of Understanding to
draft such agreements and orders as may be required to give legal
effect to its terms.
In order to maximize session results, each participant should come
to mediation prepared with the following: (1) knowledge of the facts;
(2) an understanding of the law; and (3) a desire to compromise his
or her claim(s) to some degree in order to maximize each parties'
best interest under the circumstances and to avoid the inherent risks
and expenses of trial.
While Ms. Gelbin has been a litigator since 1985 and an Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) judge since 1997, mediation
law does not allow her to give legal advice to the parties or to decide
the outcome of their disputes. Thus, the participants will be making
all of the decisions. In order for the mediation session to be productive,
the participants should give thought in advance to the strengths and
weaknesses of their claims and their chances at trial. It is always
helpful if each party prioritizes their needs and wants.
The biggest impediment to a successful mediation is when one party
surprises the other party with new and valuable information at the
mediation session. Most parties are not willing to make immediate
decisions based upon new information. They need time to process and
confirm the information before responding to it. If the matter is
one between businesses or involving insurance companies, often a party
will need to obtain additional settlement authority from others who
are not at the mediation. The need for more time may compel a recess
in the mediation process.
The Length of Mediation
It is largely up to the parties and the complexity of the case whether
mediation will last a half session, a full session or numerous sessions.
The parties are usually in the best position to estimate the necessary
length of a mediation session. If the parties use the mediation session
to engage in unproductive or repetitive arguments, the mediation session
will necessarily last longer. After consulting with the parties, Ms.
Gelbin may recess or terminate the mediation session if it appears
that the parties are unlikely to engage in productive discussions.
Fees and Costs
Please see the Standard Fees section for this
After Ms. Gelbin collects information from all parties, she will attempt
to identify those issues on which all parties can agree. The points
of agreement will serve as a foundation for the Memorandum of Understanding.
The participants are the sole determiners of what to include in the
Memorandum of Understanding. The Memorandum of Understanding is never
final until all parties agree. Thus, matters on which the parties
initially agree may be modified if necessary, based upon compromises
made to resolve those issues which are in dispute.
Ms. Gelbin will call a recess and reschedule another mediation session
if more time is needed to reach an agreement, if the parties need
to obtain additional information to fully evaluate the claim(s), if
the parties need time to re-evaluate their claims based upon the progress
of the mediation, or for any other cause she deems reasonable.
If the parties are unable to reach a settlement satisfactory to them,
Ms. Gelbin will declare an impasse and send her report to the court
of jurisdiction. Thereafter, unless the parties otherwise settle,
the case will proceed through the usual course of litigation.
Parties Unrepresented by Counsel (Pro Se Parties)
Ms. Gelbin will work with parties who are not represented by counsel
or who have not yet filed a lawsuit. However, it is against the ethics
rules for her to give legal advice to any or both parties. If a party
is considering attending mediation without an attorney, they should
consult with an attorney prior to mediation to determine their legal
rights and they should consult with an attorney after mediation to
review any Memorandum of Understanding and have it drafted in such
a way as may be required to give legal effect to its terms.
When Parties Should Consider Mediation
Parties should always give mediation a try, especially if any of the
following are true:
- If they would like to be a part of the process which determines
the outcome of their own claim(s);
- If privacy and confidentiality are important to them;
- If the law or the court system is inadequate to fashion the relief
sought by the parties;
- If the parties do not wish to expend the time and resources necessary
for on-going litigation;
- If the parties have been unable to resolve their dispute(s) negotiating
- If the conflict is distracting either or both of the parties
from other pursuits and draining them of valuable time; or
- If the conflict is between parties who wish to salvage or rebuild
an ongoing relationship (i.e. business concerns, parental concerns,
At the conclusion of each session, Ms. Gelbin will give each participant
an opportunity to give her feedback on an evaluation form. Please
complete the form honestly and return it to Ms. Gelbin as soon as
possible so that she may better meet the needs of her mediation
The following are links to the agencies which govern mediation and
the rules which apply:
Dispute Resolution Commission
Administrative Office of the Courts