Now that the holiday season is in full swing, you are probably seeking holiday gift-giving lists. Most mediator wish lists are similar. Here is what most mediators would like to receive in case you are still shopping for the holidays.
Mediators would like to receive a phone call or letter from you explaining what the case is all about, and useful information. We rarely receive more than one position statement. Sending pleadings is not particularly useful. A quick phone call is better and more efficient.
Send an invitation to mediate early in the life of the dispute. Avoid sunk costs. Mediating early allows you to learn a lot about the other side’s position, and invariably reveals new information, if you are not able to settle.
Mediators would like the parties to schedule enough time to mediate without time pressures created by unnecessary scheduling conflicts.
Mediators would like attorneys to confer with one another on the telephone in advance to discuss the scope of the mediation and necessary non-party attendees. Sometimes, the participation or consent of non-parties may be needed to create a durable deal.
Mediators wish you would send a thoughtful and polite pre-mediation letter to the side. This is your chance to communicate directly with the other side. Confidential pre-mediation submittals for the mediator’s eyes only are of limited value.
Mediators would like to receive preliminary settlement documents so if a deal is had we can get the documents finished quickly.
What can you give your client?
The best present you can give a client is peace and freedom from conflict by resolving the dispute quickly and cost-effectively. Settlements result in economic benefits and loss limits, but the intangible benefits are not well appreciated by many. New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
Dispute resolution contributes greatly to the quality of life, reduces stress, and helps ease the burden on underfunded judicial systems attempting to provide justice with often severely limited resources. This is truer than ever.
Attorneys and mediators have a critical duty to make the system work better. Getting cases out of the court system sooner in the life of a dispute goes a long way to reducing costs, improving access to the courts, and enhancing the perception of attorneys.