Each mediation is tailored to the needs of the parties. However, most mediations begin with a joint session involving all parties and their representatives. The purpose of the joint session is to set the agenda, to ascertain the parties’ positions and to define the issues. It is important to the success of the mediation that all parties and representatives with authority to agree to any settlement or resolution be present and participate in good faith in the mediation. Typically, there are several individual, confidential caucuses where the mediator helps the individual party evaluate the merits of their case and identify issues, interests and objectives. The mediator also helps the parties in the negotiation process, generating options and insuring any decision making is well founded. The goal of the process is to lead the parties toward settlement and resolution of the dispute.
Prior to the actual mediation, I will endeavor to learn about the underlying facts and issues relevant to the dispute. A written mediation memorandum submitted by each party as well as a pre-mediation telephone call with the party or counsel is also helpful. These pre-mediation activities allow me to better facilitate the mediation and offer traditional and creative solutions toward resolution.