I believe that one of the surest paths to a successful mediation is to have a prepared mediator—one who knows the facts and the issues well in advance of the mediation session. I usually ask for written submissions 10 to 14 days prior to the mediation session. I don’t do that to torture the attorneys, but rather to be prepared. I read the submissions as they come in and make note of any questions that I have. I then have time to call counsel and discuss issues prior to the mediation. It might be something the attorney has not thought of or something I don’t understand. Either way, we gain clarity and don’t spend time at the mediation covering those things.
I include my mediation memo below, covering submissions and client authority as well as the mediation checklist that I ask the parties to comply with for the mediation session.