Mediation works. Every now and then there will be reported some statistics about the success of mediation in resolving lawsuits. Recently, FINRA Dispute Resolution published its year-end statistics regarding cases involving customer disputes. In 2018, there were 3,064 cases filed. Of those, only 647 went through an arbitration hearing, either with arbitrators serving with in-person hearings or a simplified arbitration using only documents. Almost 2,500 cases reached a resolution through settlement or mediation. In 2018, over 70% of the cases that went through FINRA-sponsored mediation reached a settlement. In 2017, over 85% of the cases that went through FINRA-sponsored mediation reached a settlement. In my mediation practice, I am seeing settlements in virtually every FINRA-related mediation. And, in case you were wondering about the cases that did not settle, over the last five years, approximately 40% of the customer claims in FINRA arbitration resulted in damages awarded in favor of the customer. The broker dealer won the other 60% of the time. Obviously, the statistics may be misleading because about 75% of cases have reached resolution through a settlement. Using a mediator that is familiar with the legal issues and the arbitration forum helps the parties find a way to a settlement. I have represented parties in FINRA arbitration in Minnesota, Oregon, Texas and North Carolina. I also am a FINRA arbitrator in Minnesota. There is a difference in how a Minnesota arbitrator may decide a case from one in another state. A mediator familiar with the forum is best able to help the parties reach a settlement. Mediation works because the parties are together all at the same time thinking about finding a way to resolve the dispute. No case should go through arbitration without at least an attempt at settlement through a mediation.