As mediators we want to do our best to give the parties and their counsel value for their mediation day to either resolve their case or to achieve a direction to ultimately resolve their case. Toward this end I have found pre-mediation caucuses to identify, clarify, or organize the following:
- Rights and defenses of the parties.
- Presence of necessary parties and participants.
- Focus on specific factual and/or legal issues.
- Mediation needs of the parties and/or their counsel.
- Expectations of parties and/or their counsel.
- Schedules of the parties that may impact the mediation.
- The status of the negotiation and any necessary pre-mediation demands or offers.
- The opening statement -to do or not to do, that is the question.
- Personalities of parties or their representatives that may be relevant to the negotiations.
- Interests of the parties that may be different from their causes of action or defenses.
Pre-mediation communications are, indeed, invaluable to the mediation process.
Rodney A. Max
is a principal mediator at the firm of Upchurch, Watson, White and Max.