Frequently Asked Questions



  1. What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
  2. Why am I being sent to mediation?
  3. What is a mediator’s job?
  4. Who are you?
  5. What will happen in mediation?
  6. What if the mediator says something different than my lawyer?
  7. What makes mediation better than a trial?
  8. What will happen if the case settles?
  9. What will happen if the case does not settle?
  10. What should I wear?
  11. How long should I expect to be in mediation?
  12. If I am in a full day mediation should I bring something to eat?
  13. Are you available for mediation outside of San Antonio?
  14. Are there additional fees for mediations conducted outside of San Antonio?

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions



  1. What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

    In mediation the parties attempt to reach an agreement, with the assistance of a mediator. In arbitration an arbitrator decides the outcome for the parties.

  2. Why am I being sent to mediation?

    Mediation is normally required by the Bexar County Civil Courts before a case may be tried to a jury. It allows the parties to make sure that every effort is made to resolve their dispute before additional time and money is spent.

  3. What is a mediator’s job?

    A mediator's job is to assist in attempting to resolve your dispute without the necessity of a trial.

  4. Who are you?

    My name is Steve Vacek. I started my legal career as a prosecutor in Bexar County. I was in the Bexar County District Attorney's Office for five years. I then entered private practice as a trial lawyer. I worked in that capacity for sixteen years. I have been a mediator since 1994, a full time mediator since 1998 and have mediated over 5,400 cases. If you would like additional information about me you can click on Profile above.

  5. What will happen in mediation?

    Subject to agreements to the contrary, mediation will start in a joint session. At that meeting I will explain the mediation process. Each side, through their attorney, will then explain their respective position. You will normally not be required to make any statements or answer any questions in the joint session. All discussions during the mediation are confidential. Nothing that is said in mediation can ever be repeated or quoted.

    Each party, with their attorney, will then separate from the opposing side and meet with me privately. Nothing that is discussed in that private meeting will be disclosed to the other side without your attorney's permission. The information obtained during the private meetings will allow me to identify problems which might otherwise impede us from finding a resolution. During the private meetings I will also discuss possible outcomes, if the case were tried.

    During the mediation I will be delivering each side's offers and counter-offers. I will do everything reasonably and ethically possible to help reach a settlement. An impasse will not be called unless and until I am sure there is no way to reach an agreement.

  6. What if the mediator says something different than my lawyer?

    Always remember, I am not your lawyer. If your lawyer has a different opinion about any matter that is discussed, listen to them.

  7. What makes mediation better than a trial?

    It is always better to reach your own resolution rather than have one imposed by others. In a trial there will be definite winners and losers. In a mediation, a compromise is reached which prevents either side from suffering a devastating loss.

  8. What will happen if the case settles?

    Agreements that are reached will be reduced to writing and signed by the parties and their attorneys. Once signed, the written agreement becomes binding and irrevocable.

  9. What will happen if the case does not settle?

    Your case will probably go to trial. If your case goes to trial the outcome will be determined by outsiders. Either a judge or a jury will decide all unresolved issues.

  10. What should I wear?

    Dress is causal, unless you have been instructed differently by your attorney.

  11. How long should I expect to be in mediation?

    Half day mediations normally last 2 to 3 hours and full day mediations last 4 to 6 hours.

  12. If I am in a full day mediation should I bring something to eat?

    You are welcome to bring anything you would like, but when the mediation is scheduled for a full day, lunch will be provided.

  13. Are you available for mediation outside of San Antonio?

    Yes, as long as there is no travel conflict with my mediation schedule and one of the parties can provide a location for the mediation.

  14. Are there additional fees for mediations conducted outside of San Antonio?

    If mediation can be completed in 3 hours, there is no additional fee for half day mediations conducted in Boerne, Castroville, Lytle or New Braunfels.

    If the parties would like to schedule a full day mediation or one of the parties would like to schedule two half day mediations for the same day, there is no additional fee for me to travel to Austin, Blanco, Floresville, Hondo, Pleasanton, San Marcos or Seguin.

    If the parties would like to schedule a full day mediation or one of the parties would like to schedule two half day mediations for the same day in Houston or Dallas, I charge for my flight (Southwest Airlines), car rental and one night's accommodations (Holiday Inn Express, or similar), in addition to my regular mediation fee.