As Alexander Graham Bell once said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Mediation is no exception. What an attorney does prior to the mediation is as important as anything done during the mediation. Those attorneys truly interested in reaching settlement in mediation must prepare their clients and should meet with the mediator, and perhaps the other party, before mediation.

Research has shown that attorneys who prepare their clients are more likely to reach settlement. Their clients also rate their experience in mediation more highly. Other research has revealed that when attorneys and their clients meet with the mediator before the mediation they are more likely to reach settlement in mediation. Case law points to the importance of meeting with the mediator and other side together as well. Doing so opens communication and can help identify issues that may bar settlement.

A key component in successful mediation is client preparation. According to research of civil cases in Ohio, those attorneys who prepared their clients for mediation were more likely to reach agreement in mediation than those who did not. Their clients also assessed the mediation more highly than the clients of attorneys who did not prepare their clients. In particular, they perceived the process as more fair.

Jul-Sep 2016 issue

Resolution Systems Institute