What Will Happen At The Mediation?
First, I prefer to have a pre-mediation discussion by telephone with counsel a few days before we meet. I find that these conversations give me a flavor for the dispute that I cannot always get from the written briefs, and help me to jumpstart the actual mediation by getting to know the attorneys and their issues better. Attorneys often choose to use this phone call as an opportunity to deliver an ”opening statement,” laying out their client’s case in a safe environment where they are not likely to enflame emotions as sometimes happens when opening statements are given with litigants present. I appreciated the candid exchange, as well as the advocacy in an environment that is not likely to set negotiations back because someone is offended.
Second, I like to start the day with a short joint session. In the joint session, all participants will be introduced and will sign a confidentiality agreement before proceeding. Next, I will take a moment to introduce myself and my background as a professional neutral, and outline the process of holding separate sessions. I will ask for a commitment to the process of the mediation. You should be prepared to commit to making a good faith effort to settle your differences at mediation.