These days, cutbacks in court funding are pushing cases to mediation earlier and earlier. Cases from securities to entertainment law are being settled with the assistance of an experienced mediator. For many lawyers, this can be a nerve-wracking experience. After all, the idea of sitting across from opposing counsel and attempting to come to an agreement on behalf of your client without appearing timid can be a stressful one.
Here are a few tips and techniques to consider before and during the mediation process:
- Joint sessions are returning. They are useful tools to hear, understand and discuss issues in the case. If you are concerned about discussing or releasing certain information in a joint session, save it to discuss with the mediator in caucus. A knowledgeable mediator can help you determine how to approach the matter.
- Your California mediator is bound by heightened rules of confidentiality. Don’t stress with the misconception that everything you say to your mediator will be relayed to the other party. You can discuss the scope of confidentiality in further detail with your mediator.
- A mediation is a negotiation. Use this as an opportunity to reach a compromise — and perhaps make concessions — consistent with your interests. The goal is that by seeing you concede on points, opposing counsel will do the same.
- It is helpful to tie offers to issues in the case. Provide the mediator with reasons for your concessions and offers, linked liability and damages.
- Be certain that the mediator understands your interests and accurately represents what you have said to them. Just as the mediator has established a rapport with you, he has also been working to build trust with the other party and likely has considerable credibility with the other side.
- Work with a mediator you trust allowing you to be candid during caucuses. Mediators can be valuable in helping you assess your case, generate options, advise on offers and counter-offers and move toward settlement, but they cannot help without your honest assessment of the case.
Look for more tips on how to ensure a successful mediation session in the coming weeks!
Bruce A. Friedman is a mediator with a national practice. With years of litigation experience behind him, he understands the goals of the mediation process and will do his best to ensure that the needs of both parties are met, justly and efficiently. For more information on the mediation services that Bruce A. Friedman provides, check out his website at http://www.FriedmanMediation.