May 26, 2015 Articles

How Lawyers Can Be the Most Effective Advocates in a Mediation

The proper steps to help best prepare the mediator, the other side, and your client for the process.

By Leslie A. Berkoff – May 26, 2015

Mediation is a collaborative process that allows parties to reach a resolution in a way that is far more flexible than through a court proceeding. The parties’ ability in a mediation to determine the resolution of their dispute is a unique possibility in any area of the law.

Winning in a mediation is about securing, to the extent possible, the interests that are most important to all the participants. Scott Brown,“Seeing the Light: From Litigation to Mediation,” ABI J., June 2013. The mediator-advocate’s approach to the mediation process from beginning to end can play a significant part in whether a mediation is successful in resolving the issues at hand, as well as producing a positive result for the client.

The path to a successful mediation begins with the selection of the mediator. In the selection of a mediator, unlike the assignment of a judge to a case, parties have the ability to participate. The mediator that is ultimately chosen will play a critical part in the mediation process. Do not be shy about asking to interview the mediator or even requesting that the mediator provide recommendations from participants in past mediations. You can even consider polling colleagues to ascertain their experience with a proposed mediator. Any screening process should closely examine whether the mediator has familiarity with the relevant area of the law.

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