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  • Writer's picturePirita Virtanen

Finland's First Full-Time Mediation Practice At Your Service

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

Having a dispute? Afraid of ending up in a trial or in arbitration? Or perhaps already in the middle of these proceedings? Frustrated about the costs, length of the proceedings or unpredictability of the outcome? Or perhaps the possibility of loosing an important business partner or saving your face?

No need to panic. I can help. Let's end your dispute.

After representing clients in one of the largest damages trials in Finland for over 6 years, I became frustrated about these very same things. In this trial, there were 30 lawyers on the one side of the courtroom, 30 on the other side, and judges in the front. I recall, when all these talented people were listening to a witness, knowing very well that he is lying, but the other side of lawyers tried to make him look a bit better and the other side a bit worse. This theater kept on going on and on. I thought: "What am I doing here? Why can't these disputes be settled?"

This trial is still ongoing. It will most likely take over 10 years to have a final judgment. The outcomes in different courts have enormously varied. The legal costs of only one defendant at the lowest court were about 4 million euros.

After doing pro bono work for a peace mediation organization CMI, founded by Finland's president and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, I was introduced to another way of solving disputes - mediation. Mediation can be used to solve conflicts between countries, but also in the commercial setting. Either way, mediation is a voluntary and confidential process, in which a neutral third party (=a mediator) assists parties to end the dispute.

In comparison to court proceedings and arbitration, mediation has various advantages. Mediation is an excellent way to 1) avoid the legal costs of long proceedings, 2) end the dispute quickly (in commercial mediation, usually in one day in comparison to years of litigation or arbitration), and 3) decide the outcome of the dispute between the parties. Thus, mediation is an excellent way to manage risks concerning the costs and the outcome. Further, important business relationships are saved.

In mediation, the focus is on what really matters the most and how to get there. The aim is to end the dispute, so that parties can concentrate in the actual business.

As there is practically no mediation education in Finland, I completed my second LL.M. degree at Harvard Law School and focused on mediation and negotiation. Harvard is considered to be the best place to study these skills. After Harvard, I completed a Weinstein JAMS International Fellowship. During my Fellowship, I participated as a mediator in over 30 complex high-value disputes at JAMS, world's largest mediation provider. For example, participated as a mediator in a case worth 800 million dollars and involving over 50 persons from 10 different corporations. I mediated this case and several other cases with one of the U.S.'s leading mediators, Honorable Judge Daniel Weinstein. This case was mediated in one day, as usually every case at JAMS. The overall success rate at JAMS is over 80 %. In the cases that I participated as a mediator, the the success rate was well over 95 %.

Through my mediation practice in Finland, I offer mediation to Finnish companies and beyond. There is no other person in Finland having an LL.M. from Harvard focused on mediation or the same amount of experience in mediating highly complex and high-value civil disputes. I also mediate with one of U.S.'s leading mediators, Hon. Daniel Weinstein.

Having cross-boarder elements in your dispute? I am available to co-mediate for example with Hon.Daniel Weinstein. Daniel is not only one of the leading mediator in the U.S., but also recognized internationally as a preeminent mediator of commercial and political disputes. He has mediated for example the Lehman Brother's Bankruptcy and the Enron Litigation, and is also a former U.S. Envoy to Bosnia, then mediating $14 billion transfer of funds between Muslims, Serbs and Croats. Further, I am part of the Weinstein JAMS International Fellows' worldwide network of mediators, and thus able to co-mediate in over 60 different jurisdictions.

I also offer negotiation consulting and negotiation workshops, so that companies and other entities can end their disputes by themselves and negotiate better contracts.

Interested in hearing more? I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

Let's end your dispute.


Pirita Virtanen

Mediator, Founder & CEO, Private Mediator Oy

Harvard Law School (LL.M.), University of Turku (LL.M.)

pvirtanen(at) / +358 40 7766476

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