I have had the pleasure of mediating and settling many family law cases for lawyers and parties over the years. The case I settled this week inspired me to write this blog that I call the Four “BE”‘s of mediation.
1. BE Selective-Most attorneys have their “go to” mediators. Good attorneys can match the facts or dynamics of the case and the personalities of the parties involved with the personality or style of a particular mediator. The mediator that the attorneys agree upon to mediate your case has a huge impact on the chance your case settles. Choose wisely.
2. BE Prepared-Make sure you know what you want in mediation PRIOR to your mediation. Take the time (with the help of your attorney) to prepare a position statement and send it and anything else you want the mediator to review to the mediator as far in advance of your mediation as possible. I appreciate it when I know the position of both parties before you get to my office, and I have found that it decreases the emotional toll on the parties when I can walk in their room and proudly announce that I am familiar with the case and there is no need for the party to recount what circumstances brought them to this litigation.
3. BE Patient-Most mediations take a full eight-hour day, and some even longer. The mediator by necessity may be in the room with one party longer than the other. The fact is-you know the other party far better than the mediator, the attorneys, or the Judge in your case ever will. Don’t get frustrated if the mediator spends a great deal more time with the other party. There is a reason for it. Be patient.
4. BE Open-Minded-Mediation is meant to be a good-faith negotiation. Rare is the mediation where both parties get everything they ask for, but it can happen. Good mediators and attorneys can come up with creative ways to solve issues by thinking “outside the box” if you will remain open-minded and have a goal of resolving your case in mediation as to taking your case to trial.
Remember the Four “BE”‘s. Trust me, if you follow them, you will have a great chance of settling your case.