The increasingly vital craft of mediation and interest-based negotiation is the focus of the School of Law’s Mediation Clinic; working on cases referred by local courts or other mediation agencies, students help resolve disputes in family law, small claims and the community.
Mediation is becoming an extensively utilized dispute resolution tool as Federal and State Courts establish mediation referral programs and as clients are increasingly hiring private sector mediators to avoid costly court battles and to maximize results. The best way to understand mediation is to actually be in the mediator’s chair with real parties. It is vital that new lawyers are cognizant of what mediation is all about, whether they want to possibly make mediation part of their future law practices, or simply know enough to effectively advise and assist their clients at mediation sessions.
Steven Sugarman, Director
University at Buffalo
School of Law
507 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
Our newest initiative, Virtual Small Claims Mediation Program, helps parties settle their small claims disputes. The Clinic offers free, confidential mediation sessions through videoconferencing to those who wish to participate.
If you wish to are participate, please contact us through our Mediation Interest Form.
Mediation is a process where parties to a legal dispute, led by a trained, neutral mediator (or mediators) talk through the issues of the situation and attain an agreement and result that everyone can live with. Mediation is a less expensive (or free), less time-consuming alternative to court. In mediation the disputing parties have the chance to settle their differences in a safe, confidential and efficient manner, which protects a party's statements from being used against them should the mediation not result in a settlement and the matter goes to court. Mediation can also provide certainty of result with a resolution rather than having to be exposed to the risks in front of a judge or jury.
Mediation often improves communication, saves people time and money, and leads to longer-lasting agreements. Mediation can be especially effective in family, neighbor, and business conflicts or where the individuals involved want to preserve their relationship. Mediation may not be appropriate or safe in cases involving a history or fear of domestic violence.
Mediation can help people get what they need, whether it’s peace, family unity, a financial settlement, or even a chance to be heard. Our law student mediators are trained and committed to promoting peace in our communities.