Thursday, November 13, 2014

Take Full Advantage of the Opportunity to Mediate

Suzanne McSorley recently posted an interesting article in Under Construction concerning strategies for success at mediation.

Take Full Advantage of the Opportunity to Mediate: Prepare; Don’t Just Show Up!

We all know the Scout motto: Be prepared. Life is not merely showing up. It’s being ready when you do show up.  So, prepare for your mediation; don’t just show up!

In nearly 20 years of serving as mediation neutral, I have observed too many litigants who have intentionally or inadvertently adopted this attitude toward mediation:  they know that the mediation session will provide an opportunity to settle their case, and they show up, full of hope tempered with a little pessimism.  But they just show up! While I doubt any readers of Under Construction are guilty of this offense, I continue to be amazed at how infrequently parties – even parties with substantial claims – really prepare for mediation.  At best, lack of preparation prolongs the mediation process and increases its cost.  At worst, failure to prepare wastes a great opportunity to bring a dispute to an earlier and less expensive resolution. 

Preparation is as critical to success in mediation as it is to success at trial or in arbitration.  But, to a great extent, the kind of preparation needed for mediation is quite different from the kind of preparation needed for trial.  

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