Choosing the right mediator does not have to be a stressful choice. There are certain qualities and characteristics that, during my years of practice, I’ve learned make a mediator great. To that point, before I was a mediator, I was a litigator for 37 years and a consumer of mediation services. As a litigator, what I looked for in a mediator are the same qualities that I now aspire to offer.
Personally, substantive knowledge of the area of law involved in the case I am mediating and a good track record of obtaining settlements are at the top of my list. Next, I want the mediator to be prepared. To me, being prepared means that mediator has personally read the mediation briefs and any other pleadings and documents that the lawyers have provided and is ready to discuss the case. In my opinion, it is not too much to ask that the mediator has read any case law that the parties have identified as significant to the case.
I look for a mediator who my client will respect and who has the personality to bond and empathize with my client. My ideal mediator is always optimistic about the ability to settle the case throughout the highs and lows of the mediation process. I also want an active and energetic mediator who will facilitate a discussion about the case and provide feedback on the issues. In California and throughout the country, mediation is an opportunity for discussion.
When it comes to negotiation, I look for a mediator that I can consult with on the options available to my client in terms of a specific dollar amount of an offer or counter offer, a settlement range, bracket, or other method to move the mediation forward to settlement. Lastly, I look for a mediator who has the patience for the process. Too often, I have encountered mediators who are in a hurry to push the parties faster than the natural flow of the negotiation and want to make a mediator’s proposal before it is time to even consider that tactic for resolving the case.
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.com or call him at (310) 201-0010.