We would describe this as a cross between a workplace mediation and a commercial mediation. For example when you are aware of a underlying dispute but before there has been a final fall out between a partner and the firm leading to retirement or expulsion, a mediation takes place so both parties understand the conflict and the other parties grievances, so that they can facilitate a settlement before it is too late.
This is ideal in many situations, for example:
- Where the managing partner, or a body of the partners generally, can no longer tolerate the behaviour of one of the partners. This is for the typical maverick partner who fails to comply on many fronts – time recording, billing promptly, missing partners meetings because he is too busy, speaking out against partnership policies – and although one solution is to part company, that partner brings in a significant amount of work and holds some key client relationships, and in reality the partnership can ill afford to lose him or her, or as importantly nowadays repay their capital.
- Between a key employee and their team leader. Both parties are invaluable to the business but the clash of personalities has led to undercurrents which are affecting not only those two people but the rest of the team. By acting swiftly a full breakdown of the relationship can often be avoided.
As the process is confidential and the mediator an independent facilitator, the parties are able to discuss their feelings openly and the mediator can get to the true issues.
If there is a solution it can be found, and if not, the parties involved can agree to an amicable solution without bad publicity and damage to relationships.