Mediation advocacy: best practice in preparation and openings

Plotting your moves and strategy prior to a mediation is critical: “Don’t plan so much that you’re trapped by it,” warns one mediator, “but if you want to go from no settlement to settlement at a figure which is acceptable, without a plan of how to get there, you won’t. If you don’t think it through everything will be a surprise.”

One should, as far as possible, anticipate the other side’s moves; have a clear idea of what points the other side are going to home in on, and plan a response.

“You have to think: what are we going to say when the mediator comes in and asks about issue A?” offers one mediator. If it’s a money case, you need to plan how early you want to start talking about money. “It’s something that the parties have considerable control over,” says one mediator. “You have to pick your moment. Can you browbeat the other side? Will you get a better settlement by drawing the process out into the early hours? You need a plan, even if it’s a wholly imperfect plan, which it will be,” he says.

Source: JAMS ADR