Mediation is a confidential process that provides an opportunity for parties to resolve disputes on their own terms more quickly and efficiently than administrative, arbitration or court processes. It also provides parties a chance to have their matters heard and get some closure. Mediators at MPM are seasoned and reputable attorneys in their subject matter areas. They approach mediation proactively by educating parties about mediation, earning their trust, building rapport, and engaging them in the process.
In order to think about resolution, we understand that parties need to feel heard. They also need to feel respected. We provide a well-structured mediation process that helps parties manage their emotions, identify and prioritize their interests, clarify the options, and consider alternatives.
MPM’s mediators utilize a combination of facilitative and evaluative techniques, depending on the case. As skilled mediators, we know whether and when to use these techniques, considering the parties, their counsel, and timing. It is important not to evaluate a case too quickly, as that may diminish our neutrality and cause a party to feel unheard and lose trust in us. At the same time, we are ready and willing to push back on the parties’ positions and settlement proposals and conduct candid reality testing. There is nothing more frustrating than having a mediator passively shuttle numbers back and forth between the parties. Our mediators actively lead the process, with care and interest in the parties’ situation, calm professionalism, persistence, and optimism that even the most difficult cases can and do resolve in mediation.
For mediation to be most productive, the parties should carefully consider whether the timing is right. Do the parties have sufficient information to engage in serious settlement discussions, or is some exchange of information or discovery needed before that can happen? Do the parties have a genuine interest in exploring a settlement at this time? Do they seem ready to consider a compromise and close the chapter on the dispute under the right terms?
The parties’ decision makers also must come to the mediation prepared for a meaningful discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the case. That means gathering the available documents and information to best assess the claims, defenses, and potential damages; reviewing the relevant law and risks (including legal risks as well as the impact on the parties’ lives, their business/operations, if the matter does not resolve); anticipating the other party’s response; considering various alternative paths for resolution. Counsel for the parties should also consider talking with the mediator privately (either ahead of the mediation or during the mediation, if possible) regarding any unique challenges in the case or tricky dynamics, so the mediator can adjust the process accordingly. These insights can be invaluable for the mediator. Our effectiveness as mediators is directly affected by the timing of mediation, the level of preparedness of the parties, participation by the key decision makers, and the parties’ trust in us and in the process