Jeff Kichaven: While every case is unique, I presumptively have joint sessions. I know other mediators don’t. Sometimes I think I have more joint sessions than all the other mediators combined. Turns out lawyers like them. That’s because we go in prepared to generate progress.
We don’t have old-fashioned “plenary” joint sessions where everyone hurls firebombs. We have joint sessions with narrow, focused agendas. After I read the mediation briefs, I call the lawyers to focus on the central issues and narrow our agenda to just those issues. In the joint session, we stick to the agenda. I ask lots of questions. Well-prepared lawyers welcome them.