I'm a big fan of mediation, and especially early mediation for most cases. Early mediation, if successful, will save the business a ton of money by avoiding discovery and trial preparation litigation expenses. Even in cases where the mediation conference does not resolve the dispute that day, I have found that the parties will sometimes resolve the dispute shortly thereafter.
It may surprise you to know that it's a fairly common practice among litigators to jokingly express outrage to their colleagues at the firm for settling cases short of trial because early resolution results in a lost billing opportunity. It's meant to be cute, bit it's pretty offensive, and it illustrates a point that most businesses already know. There is tension between the law firm and litigator's revenue goals and the business/client's goal of avoiding legal fees. Richard Susskind, in his seminal book, The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services, explains this tension between law firms and clients. "The client will generally hope their legal requirements are routine and can be disposed of quickly and painlessly, while the law firm will generally hanker after more challenging instructions that will occupy them for more time.” (pg. 149).
From the law firm's perspective: no trial = No trial related revenue.
From the client's perspective:
No trial = No trial related expenditures AND no trial related distractions.
In almost every case, it is better to resolve the dispute voluntarily than to roll the dice and take it to trial so a judge or jury can decide the issue for you. If you're not hearing this advice from your law firm, consider its economic interests and get a second opinion.
Contact Mark D. Walters