Bennett Willis Mediation Practice in Charleston SC
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My FAQ’s

The FAQs

Don't see your question here? Contact me today to find out more about mediation & to see if the services are right for you.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative approach to resolving legal disputes. Essentially it is a guided discussion of the issues surrounding the dispute facilitated by a neutral professional to resolve conflicts by finding common ground and mutually satisfying solutions. Often, expensive public legal proceedings can be avoided or brought to a close for a more satisfactory outcome for all parties.

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How much does mediation with Ben cost?

Ben's fees are generally $280 an hour and this cost is split equally by the parties. In certain cases, for instance, if there is an extremely time sensitive or complex matter or a large number of parties are involved, this fee may go up. The parties sign and submit to Ben his contract for the mediation, confidentiality agreements, other required documentation and the fees prior to the first session.

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How long does it typically take to complete the mediation process?

The duration of each mediation varies and depends on many factors. Most often the complexity of the issues at hand and the willingness of each party to settle on fair solutions are the two biggest factors. The whole point of mediation is to find solutions that are agreeable for everyone and meet everyone's needs. Sometimes it can take a while to find that common ground but this is something you and the other party have a lot of control over. With Ben's assistance the effort and discussion remain focused. He helps the process along by suggesting possible solutions when negotiation seems to have reached a stalemate. Keep in mind, not every matter is resolved in a single session. But in mediation, time is on your side.

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How should I prepare for the first meeting with Ben and do I need to provide anything?

It is important that you have clarity on what aspects of the dispute are important to you. In other words, exactly what you want to accomplish during the mediation. It is also helpful to try to think of what the other party's major concerns are and try to identify what you may be willing to do to satisfy their concerns and desires. Based on the nature and posture of your dispute, Ben will suggest to both parties the materials to bring to the session.

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Is mediation the best choice for my dispute or should I go through the court system?

The best way to find out is to contact Ben and discuss your situation. He'll let you know if he thinks he can help. Only you can decide which avenue to take but the pros and cons of mediation versus litigation are clearly in mediation's favor in many, many cases.

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How can I schedule a consultation with Ben to discuss my matter?

Ben prefers communicating by phone and is more than willing to discuss your situation and answer your questions about how he may be able to help. You are able to request a phone call from him through the Contact page if you'd like.

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Do both parties have to agree to the mediation?

Yes. Mediation can only happen if both parties agree to it - it cannot be forced.

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What if I'm not getting along with the other party involved in the dispute?

In situations where there is anger or discomfort meeting face-to-face, you and the other party are able to stay in separate rooms and Ben will go back and forth communicating what the other party said.

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What if we can't agree on a solution?

You retain all of your legal rights and may have to use them. The Courts are always your alternative.

Moreover, the law protects the mediator from being called as a witness in any court case. Ben cannot and will not ever reveal anything that comes out during mediation. This protection does not apply to actual violence or threats of imminent violence.

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Where will the mediation take place?

You can meet in a number of places. Most often Ben meets with clients in his office, located on Broad Street in Charleston, SC. However it's most important to him that everyone is comfortable and at ease. So, if you'd rather meet in a home, office, or your lawyer's office, he is willing to accommodate so long as all parties agree to the place.

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What is the final result of mediation? What do we walk away with at the end?

A hand-written agreement is created during the mediation process. This document is reviewed by all parties, each page is initialed, and then it is signed by both parties. This document is kept by Ben in a safe, no copies are made without your consent or request, and it is available when needed should some stipulation of the agreement be broken and need to be enforced. If there is a pending court case, a "Memorandum of Settlement" is produced for the litigants. The Court enters a Judgment based on the settlement.

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I have already hired a lawyer and begun the litigation process, can Ben still help?

Many civil cases are now routinely submitted to a mediation effort. Have your lawyer contact me to discuss the availability of my services to resolve your case.

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What measures does Ben take to ensure confidentiality and privacy?

Ben takes privacy and confidentiality extremely seriously. He is often trusted with very personal, potentially embarrassing or damaging information and so he takes every precaution to ensure that what is discussed cannot be accessed by anyone not at the mediation itself. Knowing that digital files are vulnerable to keylogging malware, computer hacking, and email is not a secure communication medium, he does not use a computer to draft agreements or make notes of what is discussed. By keeping everything on paper he maintains complete control of who can access it and how many copies exist whereas with a digital "soft copy" it could be duplicated and transmitted easily once it is accessed.

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