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While your mediator should have exceptional communication and negotiation skills, they should also be level, calm, and clear-headed. Legal disputes often carry a high level of emotional intensity, and a good mediator will know how and when to slow a discussion, utilize different intervention methods, and change the direction of a settlement conference. It is also important to note that both parties typically consult with their attorneys and then select the mediator together, to ensure full impartiality.
When mediation begins, the mediator will explain the process and expectations to all involved parties, and lay down some ground rules for moving forward with the discussion. Because private mediations typically need more negotiation time than settlement conferences, be sure to communicate your needs and expectations about the length of the mediation time to the mediator.
Mediations offer several benefits to all parties involved in a legal dispute. As skilled negotiators, mediators can help both parties resolve their differences, communicate their expectations, and open more opportunities for both parties to work through difficult topics. Remember, however, that a resolution is not always reached.