Amie Rodnick maintains an active mediation and arbitration practice for individuals represented by attorneys and tries to keep mediation fees affordable. She is a Credentialed Distinguished Mediator through the Texas Mediator Credentialing Association (TMCA), the highest credential awarded. She originally obtained her mediator training in 1990 and is a long time member of the Association of Attorney-Mediators (AAM), the Texas Association of Mediators (TAM), and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section of the Austin Bar Association, where she currently serves on the board of directors. She has mediated approximately 1,000 cases, has lectured on mediation for AAM, designed mediation follow-up surveys, and has written articles for the AAM newsletter. She has been an active volunteer for Settlement Week in both Travis and Williamson Counties and attends a number of advanced continuing education seminars for mediators.
Mediation is very different from collaborative law, although both are considered dispute resolution procedures and are fully confidential. A mediator is a neutral facilitator who is specially trained to guide the parties and their attorneys to a settlement, taking all interests and positions into account. A mediator does not act as an arbitrator or judge and cannot make a ruling for the parties, unless it is to resolve drafting disputes by request of the parties.
Mediation is normally appropriate once the discovery phase of a case is complete, although many parties choose to schedule a mediation session to discuss temporary orders, which are interim in nature.
Amie makes use of collaborative techniques with parties and their attorneys to explore the options available for settlement. If parties become too polarized during mediation, it can delay or hinder a resolution. While "arm twisting" during settlement negotiations is not appropriate, mediation can be a "reality check", especially if one side has unrealistic expectations about what will likely happen at the courthouse.
Mediation may involve joint sessions for the mediator to discuss the process and the ground rules (provided all parties agree), and then the parties will caucus with the mediator separately so that they can talk freely. What occurs in caucus sessions is confidential and cannot be disclosed to the other party absent permission. The goal is to reach a binding written settlement and avoid the expense and emotional strain of litigation.
Mediation can be highly effective, and most cases do settle in mediation. An open mind and willingness to be flexible and consider creative solutions certainly help.
Because the mediator is a neutral, there can be an imbalance of power if one party is more forceful or well informed than the other. For this reason Amie prefers all parties to a mediation to be represented by counsel. Pro se parties will be required to prepay for the mediation by check or credit card, and a cancellation fee will be charged if a mediation is cancelled on short notice.
Below are some of the recent unsolicited endorsements from local attorneys:
"Amie - Thanks for your help yesterday. You did a great job. When I was able, I tried to step back in my mind and observe. I learned from the process.You have done a great job for me on mediations. I tell everyone that you are an excellent mediator. The other lawyers in my office agree. You are also a bargain." KM
"Thanks, Amie, for the excellent job you did. I think yesterday's mediation helped both sides better see what they can expect in court. I appreciate the excellent sensitivity you showed in when to put pressure and when to pull back. It was just what was needed as far as my client was concerned." SC
"Amie - I am grateful for your tireless efforts yesterday." KC
"Amie - I meant to email you the next day to thank you for your work. You are certainly one of the best mediators I have ever worked with, and you had your work cut out for you. And I always learn something from your mediations, too, which is another big plus for me." MT
"Amie - you are the best mediator I have ever used." DL
"Amie Rodnick is on the top of my list of Family Law mediators. Her decades of experience, combined with an interests-based approach, uniquely qualify Amie as a stellar mediator. If you need a seasoned Family Law mediator who can help you settle even the toughest case, choose Amie." MEM
Ms. Rodnick's mediation calendar can be viewed online.