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
I typically meet with counsel before mediation to discuss submissions of confidential mediation statements, logistics, and to get their opinion as to how best to approach the case. Sometimes parties prefer to go straight to caucus while in others, the parties prefer starting jointly with each side presenting opening statements. Other matters may include the order of issues to address, whether preparatory efforts might be helpful, if there are documents to be exchanged, and who might be useful to have on standby.
Once the mediation begins, I use a facilitative approach to give each party an opportunity to present the merits of their case in 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 areas where differences remain. Once I get to know the participants and learn more about their case, I often move to reality testing and eventually evaluation, if asked.
Mediations are flexible and fluid, and there is no one way to handle every situation. Since people are different in how they approach disputes, I find it important to understand a person’s objectives and how one determines what is reasonable and fair. There are many ways I can help the parties with their settlement negotiations and after many mediations, I have learned what often works and what doesn’t. I also try to keep everyone comfortable and focused on the benefits of settlement, and enjoy staying positive, optimistic and “thinking out of the box.”