Have you ever found yourself involved in a legal matter? Whether or not it has to do with a car accident, personal injury, residential lease, or contract dispute, it’s important to know the difference between a mediator and a lawyer and how both parties aim to keep your case from going to court.
What is the difference between a mediator and a lawyer?
A mediator is an independent third party who attempts to help people resolve their disputes. A mediator does not take sides and does not make decisions for the parties. The mediator’s role is often described as that of a facilitator, someone who helps the parties reach an agreement.
Unlike lawyers, who are trained in the law, mediators do not specialize in any area of law. Their training typically includes conflict resolution techniques and methods for helping parties resolve disputes.
A mediator cannot represent you in court or file documents with the court on your behalf. Mediators also cannot give legal advice about your case or tell you what to do next if you have a legal problem. A mediator will not give official opinions on whether or not you have a valid claim or explain how certain laws apply to your situation.
A lawyer is a person who represents you in court. Unlike the mediator, your lawyer is there to represent your best interests only. A lawyer is trained in legal matters and knows how to present them properly in court or before any other legal body. However, although lawyers are good at presenting cases, they aren’t trained as mediators so they may not be able to help you reach an agreement with your opponent during mediation sessions.
While it may seem like your lawyer should want to take it to court if that’s their job, even lawyers want to settle outside of court. Solving conflicts through mediation rather than through the court system gives you the most control over the outcome of your case. Once it goes to the judge, what they decide is final.