The mission of the Mediation Program of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is to provide quality dispute resolution services at the earliest practicable stage. The program is comprised of mediators with a diverse range of experiences and backgrounds, who share the goals of providing parties with opportunities for supported negotiation, exploration of legal and factual issues, creative thinking, and settlement through mediation. The program is an educational resource for the bench, bar, and larger community about the uses and benefits of mediation and other dispute resolution processes. By creating subject-specific protocols, the program evolves in response to the Court's changing docket. The Mediation Program supports the continuing growth and development of professional mediators, and provides opportunities for observation, training, and evaluation for both experienced neutrals and those newer to mediation practice.
What is Mediation?
In mediation, all participants meet with a neutral third party (the mediator) who has been trained to facilitate confidential settlement discussions. Participants include attorneys, parties (whether or not they have a lawyer), and insurance representatives. The mediator assists the parties in reaching their own negotiated settlement by defining the issues, probing and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each party's legal positions, and identifying areas of agreement and disagreement. The main benefits of mediation are that it can result in an expeditious and less costly resolution of the litigation, and can produce creative solutions to complex disputes often unavailable in traditional litigation.
At the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York the Mediation Program is governed by Local Civil Rule 83.9 and the Mediation Program Procedures. The Court periodically develops subject-specific case management and ADR protocols and currently has such protocols for: counseled employment discrimination (non-FLSA) cases, certain FLSA cases and certain § 1983 police misconduct claims.