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Frequently Asked Questions

  • 01. How is a case referred to mediation?

    Judges and Magistrate Judges may designate civil cases for inclusion in the mediation program, and shall issue an order to that effect. Alternatively, parties may request to participate in the mediation program by preparing and executing stipulation signed by all parties.

  • 01. What if I am not satisfied with my pro bono attorney or pro bono mediator?

    Please contact ADR Administrator, at 718.613.2578 or with any questions or concerns regarding pro bono attorneys and mediators. 


  • 01. What is mediation?

    Mediation is a confidential process where a neutral third party, called a mediator, assists you and the other party to try to reach a voluntary, negotiated resolution of your lawsuit.

  • 01. Why was my case ordered to arbitration?

    The EDNY designates compulsory arbitration for civil cases where money damages being sought do not exceed $150,000.00 exclusive of interest and costs (excluding Social Security cases, tax matters, prisoners' Civil Rights cases and any action based on an alleged violation of a right secured by the Constitution of the United States or if jurisdiction is based in whole or in part on Title 28 U.S.C. S 1343).

  • 02. Can a party request that their case be exempt for arbitration?

    Yes.  The court may, sua sponte, or on motion of a party, exempt any case from arbitration in which the objectives of arbitration would not be realized:

    • because the case involves complex or novel issues;
    • because legal issues predominate over factual issues; or
    • for other good cause.

    The proper format and procedure to seek exemption from arbitration for the above-listed reasons, can be found under Local Rule 83.7 (e) (2).

  • 02. How do I select a mediator?

    Counsel and parties are expected to select their own mediator.  Conduct a search of the mediators by name or by expertise, and then contact the mediator directly in order to schedule your mediation session.

  • 02. If I agree to mediation, will I definitely have a pro bono attorney appointed?

    No.  There is no guarantee that you will be matched with an attorney through this program.

  • 02. Why should I try mediation?

    Mediators assist in improving communication across party lines, identify areas of agreement, and help parties to generate a mutually acceptable resolution to the dispute. Mediation provides an opportunity to explore a wide range of potential solutions and to address interests that may be outside the scope of the lawsuit or which could not be addressed by a judge.

    Mediation can save time, and may allow the parties to avoid lengthy discovery, motions, and trial in order to reach a resolution.

  • 03. How do I select an arbitrator?

    Counsel can review the list of EDNY arbitrators on the EDNY website and notify the Arbitration Clerk of their selection.

  • 03. If I mediate my case, will I be giving up any rights?

    No. In the Eastern District, both parties must agree to mediation and the Judge must refer a pro se case to be mediated through the EDNY Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. You are under no obligation to settle your case through mediation, and if your case does not settle, you will continue your case before a judge.

  • 03. What if counsel are unable to agree on a mediator?
    The ADR Administrator will assist parties with mediator selection when necessary. Contact the ADR Administrator at for further assistance.
  • 04. Do I need to submit a brief for the purposes of mediation?

    Yes, fourteen days prior to the mediation session date, counsel must file with the Mediator their client's mediation statement summarizing the facts, legal issues, particulars of any prior settlement discussions, and the name and title of the client or client representative with full settlement authority who will attend the mediation in person.

  • 04. How much does mediation cost?

    Mediation is offered at a reduced rate through panel mediators.  In addition, parties who are unable to pay may apply to the referring judge for a waiver of the fee.

  • 04. Is it possible to request a panel of arbitrators?

    The arbitration shall be held before one arbitrator unless a panel of three arbitrators is requested by a party.  If the amount in controversy is $5,000 or less, the arbitration shall be held before a single arbitrator. 

  • 05. Is the Mediation Binding on the Parties?

    Although the parties are not bound to settle through the process of mediation–no mediator can force the parties to take a certain position or accept a proposed settlement–, the parties will be bound by any agreement they reach. These agreements must be memorialized in writing before leaving the session.