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FAQs: Self_Represented_Pro_Se_Parties

  • 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.

  • 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. 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.

  • 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.

  • 06. Where do the mediations take place?

    Mediation sessions may take place at the courthouse, a neutral location, or remotely.

  • 07. I’ve decided to mediate my case. What do I do?

    At any time after the defendant has been served with the summons and complaint, you may ask the judge for a referral into the mediation program.

  • 08. Can I ask to be appointed an attorney to represent me at the mediation?

    The EDNY offers self-represented parties with the opportunity to obtain a pro bono (free) attorney for the purpose of mediation in employment discrimination matters and matters arising under Section 1983. 

        The following types of cases are eligible for pro bono representation in mediation:

        Employment Discrimination

    • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as codified, 42 U.S.C. §§2000e to 2000e-17 (discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion and national origin)
    • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as codified, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-34 (discrimination based on age)
    • Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as codified, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1242-17 (discrimination based on disability or perceived disability) 

        Section 1983

    • First Amendment (violations of free speech, freedom of association and religion, access to the courts)
    • Fourth Amendment (false arrest, excessive force, unreasonable searches and seizures)
    • Eighth Amendment (prisoner excessive force, conditions of confinement)
    • Fourteenth Amendment (lack of due process or equal protection)
  • 09. How do I get matched with an attorney for the purpose of mediation?

    Once the judge has ordered your case to the Mediation Advocacy Program, someone from the Eastern District ADR Program will attempt to find a volunteer attorney for you. There is no guarantee that you will be matched with a pro bono attorney, however if an attorney is secured to represent you in a mediation, the attorney will contact you directly to set up a time to talk about your case. Pro bono attorneys participating in the Mediation Advocacy Program are not obligated to continue representing you in your case once the mediation has ended.

  • 10. 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.

  • 11. 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.