Talking to the Other Side: Options

Many legal problems can be resolved through negotiation. Negotiating on your own behalf can be the solution to many minor disputes. Before negotiating a problem, learn how courts might handle your case, and figure out what your legal goals are by:

  • calling a legal advice hotline; or
  • reviewing the information on the People's Law Library website.

There are several ways to negotiate with the other side.

  • Write a letter to the other side to try to work it out.
  • Call the other side to meet and try to work out a compromise.
  • Use the complaint and mediation services of a government agency.
  • Mediation - Use a neutral third- party to try and reach an agreement. The Districts Court coordinates a mediation program that differs from county to county. After a case is filed in the District Court, an alternative dispute resolution coordinator may suggest mediation. Most courts will offer a chance to mediate a case before the trial. Some courts offer mediation on the day of the trial. All mediation programs are voluntary.
    • Wondering if your court will help you find a mediator? Here is a county by county listing of help.
    • The District Court also works with other mediation programs throughout Maryland. One such program is the Maryland Association of Community Mediation Centers (MACMC). You may request mediation by contacting them. MACMC will help you decide if mediation is a good option for your case. Then, MACMC will refer you to a local program that will contact all the parties to discuss the mediation and make necessary arrangements.
    • Read more to “see if mediation is for you” in a District Court brochure which has an audio description of the mediation process.
  • Arbitration - Use a neutral third party to try to decide what is fair.

Also, consider preparing for a negotiation by doing your own legal research on the topic.

Finally, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to review papers or provide advice rather than seeking full representation, sometimes called “unbundled legal services.”

Edited by Jessica Nhem
Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland Thurgood Marshall State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland Thurgood Marshall State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – © Maryland Thurgood Marshall State Law Library, 2020.”