Basic Training 3: Preparing for Mediation

Earlier this year, shareholder A. Michelle Jernigan took  part in a boot camp for paralegals. She offered fundamental advice about hiring a mediator and assisting when a mediation takes place. More questions? Call on Michelle at or (407) 661-1123 or case manager Cathy McCleary ( ). This is the third post in a three-part series.

Florida Mediator Michelle Jernigan Florida Mediator and UWWM Shareholder Michelle Jernigan

Make sure your office spends sufficient time explaining the mediation process to the client. No client should go into mediation without knowing about the mediator’s role, the mediation process and a discussion about the client’s objectives, including a frank assessment from the lawyer about the client’s likelihood of success at trial and what might be an acceptable resolution.

Helping the Attorney Prepare for the Joint Session

The presentation of the case in the initial joint session is a unique opportunity for the lawyers to “sell” their evaluations of the case to the other side. This might be the first time the clients have actually seen their attorneys in action, so it is a great opportunity for the lawyers to impress their clients as well as the other parties in the case. They should take advantage of this time and be at their best, committing the amount of time and preparation this opportunity requires. Preparation for the presentation should be approached with careful thought and deliberation. All documents needed to prove clients’ cases should be available at the mediation conference. Lawyers should know important details about their clients’ lives and families: their ages, marital status, occupations, financial circumstances, and their emotional and psychological dispositions.

Do Not Be Afraid to Reach out to Your Mediator

Mediators appreciate lawyers and paralegals who take mediation seriously. If you ever have any questions about mediation, do not be afraid to ask your mediator. A mediator of excellence is open to your concerns and your suggestions.

For more information, see Part 1 and Part 2.

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