Nothing stays the same for ever. Changes within a business can happen for many reasons; retirement, change of direction, family separation, death, recession or business growth. Partnerships that have lasted for decades may need to dissolve. Retirement or ill health may change the nature of the business completely.
Being able to plan and provide a new course when such a change occurs is important. But sometimes change is unexpected, the person retiring may feel that they have a lot to contribute, however those taking the reins may feel they are being overseen.
Changes to family relationships, divorce, moving away, perhaps a son or daughter wants to pursue a different career choice – but what happens to the family firm?
It is often said that mediation is all about the people involved. When the problems arise within a small or family business this really rings true. Mediation can offer a pathway forwards when positions have become entrenched. By providing an environment that enables frank and honest discussion, but where the focus is about moving forwards and the process is controlled by the mediator the chances of reaching a mutually agreed solution are greatly increased.
Unlike a traditional legal process, where the focus must be on the letter of the law, mediation provides a wider, more holistic approach that can deal with the day to day practicalities and focus on what needs to happen. A clear plan following mediation can be worth more than a court order.
Mediation assumes that the best people to sort out a problem are those who are directly involved, who understand the history of what has gone on, and the need to find a solution that is accepted by all. A judge who has spent an hour looking over a pile of papers can never really understand what is at stake for a business that has been grown and nurtured over many years.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ and each case needs the process to be adapted to fit the facts, some with lawyers’ present, some with just the individuals. Some mediations follow the standard civil model with each side in a different room, some the family model with everyone around a table. Some are a mixture of both. Whatever style of mediation we choose to use, the focus is the same. An agreement that lets everyone get back to normal - and looks to the future not the past.
As an accredited ADRg commercial and civil mediator, and practicing solicitor of 20 years, I can really help you find the right way forward for your business - and family. The initial call is free, any future charges are totally transparent - so give me a call on 0333 7729763 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
'The first time I spoke to John I put the phone down thinking I’d just spoken to a friend, not a solicitor that I had never met. Throughout, John communicated to me on my level and was always clear, easy to understand and prepared to explain his reasoning.'MW