How Do I Prepare For Mediation?

Q: What are the basic principles of mediation?

A:  Mediation is based upon principles of communication, negotiation, facilitation and problem solving that emphasizes:

  1. The needs and interest of the parties
  2. Fairness
  3. Procedural flexibility
  4. Privacy and confidentiality
  5. Full disclosure
  6. Self-determination

Q: How do I prepare for mediation?

A: Mediation deals not only with the legal issues but also deals with underlying relational issues that are important to you. If you have an attorney, it is important to discuss what your reasonable expectations for an outcome would be should your case go to court. You can, therefore, compare your options at mediation with what would be available through litigation.

It is important to come to the mediation session with an open mind, ready to consider new options that may not have been raised previously. It is also important to be willing to share information with the other parties and to work together towards reaching an understanding that would be acceptable to each of you.

The following information will help the mediator settle your case if given in a frank and candid manner. It is helpful to send this information in writing to the mediator before the mediation session.  Remember that all submissions are strictly confidential:

  1. The name and title, if any, of the client or authorized representative/s who will be attending the mediation.
  2.  A brief statement of the key factual and legal issues involved in the litigation.
  3. The main “sticking points” preventing settlement.
  4. A description of any important rulings made or pending motions in the case which may have a bearing on settlement.
  5. A description of the strongest and weakest points in your case, whether factual or legal.
  6. The history of settlement negotiations, including the last settlement proposal made by you and to you.
  7. Any settlement proposals that you would be willing to make in order to conclude the matter and stop the expense and turmoil of litigation.
  8. An estimate of costs and legal fees from the date of the conference through trial, if the case is not settled.
  9. Key documents may be submitted if necessary to understand the case, meaning any documents which you believe may be of benefit to the Mediator in helping to reach a settlement in the case.

When I mediate, I like to speak to the attorneys and/or parties in advance of the live mediation session on a confidential basis.  That candid conversation helps me to understand the personal as well as the legal and procedural dynamics at play. I can be most helpful if you can clue me into the land mines and common thinking between and among the participants.

September 27, 2017                                         Connie L. Rakowsky, Esquire                                                                                                                                      Rakowsky Mediation