- We prepare each client by reviewing the case and talking about the authority we have within the conference
- We advocate for our client
- We remain level headed so our professional judgment is not impaired
- We protect our client’s interests from the opposing side
- We advise our clients while in the thick of the settlement conference
Mediation is a process where a neutral assists both parties with negotiation. It is a voluntary and confidential process. Good mediators know that effective mediation is about finding ways to help the parties communicate. Many mediators are trained in psychology, sociology, or have a background in social work. A mediator who has a law degree should be sought out for his or her familiarity with the subject matter, and ability to bring parties to agreement. Ask the mediator what his or her experience has been and the kind of claims they have mediated. Private mediators generally charge per hour, but some have flat rates. Our Mesa litigation attorneys have extensive experience with helping our clients chose a mediator. The mediator can have an important impact on the outcome, so we choose carefully.
Mediators generally have a variety of skills associated with communication and negotiation. Mediation is a process that is designed to react to the emotional intensity of legal negotiations. Good mediators know when to slow things down and use different interventions to assist with the negotiation. A mediator should care about party self-determination and informed consent. A mediator should be impartial and neutral. Generally the parties will select a mediator together, based upon advice from their attorneys.
At the beginning of a mediation, the mediator will explain the process to the parties. The mediator may lay down some ground rules about going forward. Speak with the mediator about the length of the mediation. Private mediations can last longer than settlement conferences if the parties need more time to work through the different issues. We have been in mediations that went late into the night, or extended through more than one day.
The draw of mediation is that a skilled negotiator can help parties resolve their differences in expectations. Another draw is that parties get more opportunities to talk through hard issues. People are generally happier with the outcome when they are making the decisions. It should be noted that not all mediations reach agreement.
Learn more about the guidelines of mediation here.