You’ve Agreed to Mediate. Good. Now Take a Deep Breath!
Any legal dispute can be overwhelming especially as a first time scenario. Once you have chosen mediation however, it is quite alright to take a deep breath and feel confident about your decision. Mediation offers you control over your case and with a bit of preparation it can be an interesting and positive experience. Just remember, the mediator is there to help both parties reach a solution that offers a win for both sides.
Who Should (must) Attend the Mediation?
One of the first aspects to consider when preparing for mediation is ‘who should attend the mediation session?’. The answer is simple. Any person with authority to make the agreements necessary to settle the case MUST be present during the session.
In addition, everyone whose agreement is needed to resolve the case MUST also be present: This includes managers, insurance representatives, spouses, consultants etc. Having all individuals present with any impact over the case eliminates the necessity of waiting on anyone’s opinion, observation or approval. This results in saved time and a quicker settlement.
Preparing a Mediation Brief.
Now that you know who to bring to the mediation, the next question to answer is ‘what to bring to a mediation session?’.
Most mediators will request a Mediation Statement, also known as a brief. This statement should include facts about your case, the law that applies to your case, and a proposal for the case resolution. Mediation briefs may be submitted privately to the Mediator, for his or her eyes only – or – exchanged with the other parties. The Mediator will clarify this with the parties in advance. Each side will then prepare the statement based on it’s intended audience. Briefs exchanged by the parties will tend to be designed to “communicate” positions to the other side. Briefs prepared confidentially for the Mediator only will tend to disclose important, sometimes “bottom-line” information that the Mediator will not share with the other side, but may find useful is helping the parties resolve their dispute.
Find an Open and Positive Frame of Mind & RELAX.
Be sure to keep an open mind concerning case resolution. After the mediator untangles the case facts and asks both involved parties different questions, a new light might shine on resolution options that differs from your original thoughts.
Finally, before entering any mediation session, prepare yourself with a positive attitude. Review the case at hand as well as the other party’s requests, and consider what they are asking for.
Feel free to make a list of questions for the mediator and the other party as this helps to relax and focus your thoughts and ideas. Then you will be able to start the mediation process feeling clear headed and optimistic about a positive outcome.