Mediation vs. Litigation: Understanding The Difference

If you've ever spent time with an attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks or visited a law firm's website, you've probably heard or seen the words "mitigation" and "litigation" tossed around. Both are used in a legal cases, but what exactly do they mean? How are they different? The team at the Law Offices of Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter, & Welch, P.C. is here to help clear up this common point of confusion.


Litigation refers to the scene most people imagine when they picture battling court cases. Litigation refers to the trial process - two parties and their attorneys vying for their unique positions in a courtroom, tried by either a judge or jury. Litigation is often extremely convoluted, time consuming, expensive, and - worst of all - unpredictable. Until the judge or the jury makes a decision about your case, neither party knows what the outcome will be.

For these reasons, many people understandably attempt to avoid litigation at the Lake of the Ozarks. Typically, litigation is used as a last resort if an agreement cannot be reached using other methods (like mediation).


Mediation is a calmer, more amicable way to attempt to resolve legal disputes. In mediation, a single attorney serves as a neutral third party between dissenting individuals. In this case, the attorney's role is to facilitate discussions, set forth the risks for each side, simplify the process, and help lead both parties to a fair compromise. This setup allows the process to be more peaceful and confidential, which can greatly reduce each party's stress level. Mediation is also much more cost-effective than litigation. 

Consequently, some people opt for mediation over litigation whenever possible. If the involved parties are unable to reach a solution, however, litigation may be necessary.


While litigation and mediation are the main forms of conducting legal cases, there is one other method that deserves mentioning: arbitration. Arbitration is similar to mediation in that it also involves a neutral third party to help facilitate the process, but there is one major difference. Arbitration is a legally binding process, whereas mediation is not. In some cases, arbitration begins to resemble litigation - there may be a panel of multiple abitrators who will evaluate the evidence presented and make a decision from there.

Our Lake of the Ozarks Law Firm Can Help!

No matter which sort of legal situation you are facing, the attorneys at our Lake of the Ozarks law firm are here to help. We are skilled mediators and will attempt to avoid the costly expense of a trial if at all possible; however, if trial becomes necessary, our determined attorneys will do everything in their power to ensure a positive outcome for your case. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have about the process!

Law Offices of Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter, & Welch, P.C.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising. When you need a knowledgeable attorney, we invite you to contact us to set up a consultation. Evening and weekend appointments are available. We have access to interpreters.

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Camdenton, MO 65020   GET A MAP
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