Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Mediation Process at BDRS: Sessions

Each mediation is tailored to the needs of the parties and the nature of the dispute. Typically, however, there will be a series of joint or private sessions. The goal of these sessions is to enable the parties to explore and understand
their interests, develop options, and determine whether all parties can reach agreement.

I first meet with all parties in a joint session for an introduction and review of the process, after which each party has an opportunity to present its side of the dispute.

After that initial joint session, I usually meet privately with each party, or with groups of parties, followed by subsequent joint or private meetings, as warranted. There are no arbitrary sequences or time limits.

Joint sessions can be a critical aspect of the mediation, particularly in instances where the parties have not ever met, or have not met since the time of the events giving rise to the dispute. The importance of giving parties an opportunity to have their say in front of their adversaries, and to hear directly any response the other parties might wish to make—all protected by the confidentiality of the mediation—should not be undervalued, even in cases where the dispute seems to be “just” about money.

Private sessions give the parties an opportunity frankly to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their case, discuss confidential information, to vent positions or emotions they do not wish to share with the other parties, and to consider the consequences and alternatives to a mediated settlement.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Resolution Solutions - July 2009

To see a copy of the July 2009 issue of Resolution Solutions, my dispute resolution newsletter, please Click Here. The newsletter contains a link to subscribe.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Mediation Process at BDRS: Pre-Mediation Statements

Pre-mediation statements

Before the mediation, the parties may submit optional, written
pre-mediation statements to the mediator. Such statements
might contain, for example, a summary of a party’s claim or
defense, what a party hopes to accomplish at mediation, or
particular concerns or perceived impediments to resolution.
Preparing such statements may be a useful tool for parties and
their counsel in thinking through the issues and preparing for a
productive session.

The purpose of such pre-mediation statements is not to
“persuade” the mediator—remember that the parties, not the
mediator, will decide how the dispute is to be resolved—but to
familiarize the mediator with the general context of the

While BDRS encourages the parties to exchange information, it
is up to the parties to decide whether to submit their respective
statements just to the mediator, or also to exchange
statements among themselves. In order to avoid confusion,
however, the mediator will assume that anything in the
statements may be shared with the other parties at the
mediation, unless specific portions of a statement are
expressly stated as confidential.