Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services

Mediation Services

Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party assists disputants in finding a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute. Parties may use the SMU Conflict Resolution Center either before or after a lawsuit is filed. If parties agree to use mediation, they may contact SMU directly to arrange for a convenient day and time. Once a Lawsuit is filed, a judge may order mediation and appoint the SMU Center as the mediator. All parties involved in the dispute will then be contacted and mediation scheduled. 

How it works

Program alumni, faculty and current students who have completed at least 200 training hours as well as local dispute resolution professionals perform the mediations on a voluntary basis. There is a $100.00 per party administrative fee to reserve the date and cover the costs of scheduling.

(Please contact our office directly to discuss group rates and special needs.)  The mediation itself will be conducted at no cost. A mediator will be assigned to the case after it is scheduled.

Mediation ... is fair and neutral

Parties have an equal say in the mediation process and the settlement terms.  The mediator has no authority to impose a settlement without an agreement. During mediation both sides will be able to exchange information, express expectations and propose solutions for reaching resolution.  The mediator will facilitate this process by helping the parties communicate clearly and appropriately.

Mediation ... can save time and money

Litigation can be expensive, time consuming, and emotionally costly. Many mediated settlements, on the other hand, are completed in one meeting, often saving considerable time and expense. More complicated matters may necessitate multiple sessions before an agreement is reached.  Legal or other representation is permitted in all cases, but not required.

Mediation ... can be binding if agreement is reached

Mediation can result in a binding agreement to both parties. If an agreement is not reached, a lawsuit may then be filed. Or, if already in litigation, the case will revert back to the court.

Mediation ... is confidential

The mediation process is confidential. Confidential information provided to the mediator by parties during the mediation process cannot be divulged by the mediator.  Moreover, the parties’ settlement discussions cannot be used as evidence in any future court proceeding.

Mediation Schedule

Mediations are typically scheduled Monday through Thursday starting at 9:00 am or 1:00 pm, although other times can be arranged if necessary. The SMU Conflict Resolution Center office is open Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Contact Information

If you would like to speak with someone regarding the process, or to schedule a mediation, please call the Center's coordinator, Dana Vaden, at 972-473-3486 contact us by email at to set a date and time. 

For the mediation request form, click here.

Private Practice Mediator Listing

If you are interested in contracting privately with a specific mediator, please see our Mediator Listing for details.  This list includes graduates from our program who are available as private practitioners, many of whom also volunteer at our mediation center.