By Christina L. Scott, J.D.
Before your next mediation, consider these pre-mediation tips to ensure your mediation day is positive and effective.
Unprepared parties can be a hindrance to the mediation process if they arrive with no clue as to what issues are going to be discussed. When I was mediating a divorce case recently, plaintiff made an offer regarding the joint bank account. When I presented to the defendant, to my surprise, they didn’t know that the account was going to be discussed! Parties should know what to generally expect from mediation prior to arriving. Prepare your clients by briefly discussing the purpose of mediation and let them know that mediation is their opportunity to resolve all issues in the case.
Selection of the Mediator
When selecting a mediator for your case, be sure to consider not only the subject matter, complexities, and nuances of the case, but the gender as well. For some cases, it is appropriate to consider the potential gender imbalance and the effect this may have on the mediation. The key is to know your clients. If you know that both sides of the case are all female, you may want to consider a male mediator and vice versa. This is especially true if your client is more likely to listen to and receive information from one gender over the other.
Be sure to have adequate time to mediate and don’t be in a rush. No person can predict how long mediation is likely to last. It can be frustrating to the other party and the mediator when someone has another appointment the day of mediation. Sometimes, last minute obligations are unavoidable and simply a part of life. Use best efforts however to schedule mediation on a day free from other appointments, obligations or court appearances.