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Heavy court caseloads and rising legal costs have prompted many people to settle their legal disputes outside the courtroom through a process known as alternative dispute resolution. Mediators, also known as arbitrators and conciliators, guide the alternative dispute resolution process and help resolve conflicts between disputing parties.

Mediators facilitate negotiation and settlement between disputing parties by providing direction and encouragement, working collaboratively with the parties and finding creative ways to reach a mutual solution. Specific duties vary widely depending upon practice setting but may include facilitating discussion and controlling the direction of negotiations; preparing court reports, social case histories, correspondence and other documents; implementing legislative enactments and court rules relating to a case; and keeping abreast of current trends, rules and legislation.

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