Mediation vs Litigation: choosing your own outcome

People sometimes choose to forego mediation or negotiation, thinking that their best option is just to let the judge or jury decide.  People reach this decision for a number of reasons.  For example:

  • Some people have negotiated for some period of time and are frustrated.
  • Some people do not want to deal with conflict and would prefer to give up control to a judge.
  • Some people believe the other party will never be reasonable.

While negotiations can be stressful and frustrating, it is almost always best to mediate, with the aid of an experienced mediator, and make your own agreements.  Why?

  • Judges and juries make mistakes or may simply not agree with your position.  There is not an attorney out there that has not lost a case he/she was sure he/she would win.  When you are leaving your fate in the hands of others, you are gambling with some of the most important decisions in your life.
  • In order to get to the point of letting someone else decide, you will likely have to spend a lot of time and money and energy first.  Litigation is not free or quickly resolved.  Before one gets before a judge, he/she must engage in discovery (depositions, subpoenas, etc.), prepare exhibits, interview witnesses, and do a number of other things to prepare for a trial.   Litigation is complex, and sometimes pretrial motions prevent a case from going forward or key evidence from being presented.
  •  If you think the other party is unreasonable, having a public (not confidential) battle is not the best choice.  In mediation, the mediator helps both parties become reasonable and reach an acceptable agreement in a confidential and comfortable environment.  Many mediations start with one or both parties believing it will never settle.  It sometimes takes time and energy, but it is usually time and energy well-spent.

Alona M. Gottfried is a mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions. 


Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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