Many people think that mediation involves a friendly mediator who talks with the parties until they suddenly hit a kumbaya moment and shake hands and walk away friends. While that would be wonderful, it does not usually happen that way.
Mediation is a step-by-step process, that given time to work, gets results. What are the steps to a good mediation?
Step 1: Before the mediation session, the mediator gets the written statements of the parties which give a general knowledge of what is in dispute.
Step 2: At mediation, the mediator will gather the parties in an office or more often now, by video conference, introduce everyone and explain the basics of the rules and goals.
Step 3: The parties may give an opening statement, or sometimes if bringing the parties together in one place would be counter-productive in the opinion of the lawyers, the mediator may skip a joint session and separate the parties to begin work.
Step 4: The mediator will listen and ask questions of each party separately. This is the longest part of the mediation. The mediator will move from room to room discussing the case, the expectations and hopes of the parties, will challenge the positions of the parties, and will work to bring the parties closer to a resolution.
Step 5: DONE! If the parties reach agreement, the mediator will likely put its main provisions in writing and ask each side to sign a Mediated Settlement Agreement with the basic terms. If the parties did not reach an agreement, the mediator will help the parties determine whether it would be fruitful to meet again later or continue negotiations by phone.
That’s it! If the mediator and the parties are prepared, and analyze the risks and benefits, the case can and should be settled!
I hope to help you resolve your case – please give me call and we can set a time and day to do just that!