Litigated cases are often resolved in Settlement Conference style mediation. These mediatons usually last a half or full day. The clients, with their attorneys, are usually in separate rooms, although the mediation may begin with a brief joint session. As the mediator, I move between rooms, hearing the clients’ needs and positions, and working through them with the opposing party. As a mediator, I try to help each party advance their goals and communicate their positions meaningfully. The parties and their attorneys often ask for my candid opinion, particularly what guidance I might bring from my experience as a practitioner. In some cases it can be helpful and make the mediation more productive to have pre-mediation sessions with the mediator and each side.
Mediation can be productive at any point in a conflict. In may occur on the eve of trial or it can be useful before any conflict has escalated. Parties often can benefit from building their agreement, from the bottom up, as I like to describe it. Either in joint session, or separate one party sessions, usually lasting several hours, the mediation process helps the parties identify their issues, develop options and come to agreement. This process can be maximized by gathering and organizing all the necessary information so that the decision making process is fully informed by accurate and complete information. Although parties may participate without the attendance of attorneys, no agreement is finalized without each party having the opportunity to review it with an attorney.
It can often be helpful for the participants to utilize a pair of mediators. The different backgrounds, gender and approach of each mediator can bring added value to the process. Mediators with different professional backgrounds can be helpful. An additional mediator with related expertise or with a mental health background is often helpful. In a mediation when the parties are in separate rooms the mediators can, at different times, split up between rooms and move each party forward. I have a number of mediators that can be brought in to co-mediate. The fees are usually at a blended rate that is less that the combined individual rates of the mediators.
Providing mediation services in Seattle and Western Washington