Mediation affords parties a way to avoid expensive trials by providing a common sense approach to resolving disputes. Its advantages include:
- Greater Control Over the Outcome
For cases where parties are represented, I like to meet with counsel by phone or in-person to get their opinion as to how best to approach the case. For example, it might be a good idea to start off separately, or it might be better to start off together with handshakes and an overview of the mediation process before breaking into caucus. I use a facilitative approach to give each party an opportunity to present their case on their own terms. As the mediation progresses, I look for common ground and help the parties to focus on their real interests and priorities in the areas where differences remain. Once I get to know the parties and learn more about their case, I often move to reality testing and eventually evaluation if asked. I keep everyone focused on the benefits of settlement throughout the process and enjoy staying positive, optimistic and “thinking out of the box”.
The parties should consider bringing all documents to the mediation they think could be useful. They should also have authority to make settlement decisions or have someone available that could. It is also often helpful to have experts attend in-person or to be available by phone if needed.
I welcome mediation briefs if the parties wish to send them. The briefs outline the issues and sometimes offer possible solutions, which can save time and help with preparation. Briefs could be as simple as an email or more formal with attached pleadings and exhibits. They are sometimes shared with opposing counsel, but are usually sent in confidence.