The resolution of a dispute does not just occur on the day of the mediation. Each participant to mediation needs to prepare their own strategy for negotiation in the settlement. Based on my experience as a mediator, these are a collection of tasks each participant needs to complete and to discuss with their council and the mediator before the mediation.
These tasks and the discussion with the mediator are confidential. They are confidential under both Attorney Client privilege and under mediation confidential provisions in court rules, statutes, and standards.
Task #1: What are your basic interests as you approach the resolution of this dispute? List them in rank order. Examples to consider are money, revenge, fairness, maintaining a working relationship, security.
To expand one example even further: it is important to come to grips with what your future relationship with the other party will be. It makes a tremendous difference in the solution if you see yourself having to socialize or to do business with the other party in the future. Naturally, if it is a personal injury case such as an auto accident, there was little to no prior relationship and probably not much need for a future relationship. But even then, you might want to leave open the possibility of a relationship. It might be a slip and fall in front of a business that you have patronized and would like to continue doing business in the future despite of the slip and fall.
The purpose of this exercise is to fully understand what you as a mediation participant really wants at the onset of the mediation. Often by the time you arrive at this point in the process, it has been forgotten. Review the list with your attorney and with the mediator.
About the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator. He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment. He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.
© 2013 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.