Mediation Preparation: Yes, You Should Be Preparing!

Gone are the days when it is okay to walk into mediation armed only with your handy-dandy legal pad and a pen.  Actually I am not sure that was ever really okay, but there are those who believe it is  “disarming” to arrive at a mediation appearing to have put no effort into the process and to have assigned no import to the day.

Well, I don’t buy it.  I subscribe to the opposite philosophy.  I submit that you should prepare for mediation, and prepare as if you were getting ready for trial.  Come to mediation loaded for bear and overwhelm your opponent with your thorough knowledge of the facts, the case law and jury awards.  Keep in mind that you are preparing for two reasons:  1)  you need to know the information as you engage in discovery and prepare for trial and 2) your preparedness can serve to intimidate the opposing party whose attorney (with any luck) has only arrived with the obligatory legal pad and pen.  You can subconsciously take control of a mediation joint session if your well-tabbed and indexed mediation notebook (supplied by you to opposing counsel AND the mediator) is referred to throughout the session and indeed throughout the day by all in attendance.  You can leave the opposing party wondering what their attorney has been doing with his or her time.

I am giving a presentation to the Orange County Bar Association on September 29, 2012 in Orlando.  The topic of the day is “Communicate, Litigate and Arbitrate Efficiently:  Practical Strategies for Success”.  My portion of the session focuses on the many nuances of mediation preparation that are so easy to overlook but can be so critical to resolving a case.  I hope you can join me and many of my colleagues at the seminar.  We will discuss Trial Organization, Arbitration in a Nutshell, Mediation Advocacy (presented by yours truly), Behavioral Analysis and Jury Selection, and last but not least my good friend, Jamie Moses, from Fisher, Rushmer, Werrenrath, Dickson, Talley and Dunlap, P.A., will go over the topic of Time Management Tips, Billing Practices and Ethics.

Whether you attend the seminar or not I invite you to continue visiting the UWWM blog.  Look for my next installment on mediation preparation.  If you think the mediation notebook is a great idea you will love my “PowerPoint at Mediation” tips.

Sandra Upchurch is a mediator at the firm of Upchurch, Watson, White and Max. For more information visit Sandra Upchurch’s biography.

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