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Fall: A Wonderful Time Of The Year To Try A New Mediator

October 5, 2011

Fall, a wonderful time of the year in almost every part of our wonderful country.  Cooler, drier air.  Football.  Long sleeves.  Color in the foliage.  That neat feeling that it is time to do things you haven’t felt like doing all Summer!

Coincidentally, it happens to also be a wonderful time to try out a new mediator.  (You know, the “one” that others have been repeatedly suggesting, but you were just too comfortable with “yours” to try someone new.)

Why?  Because it is exactly the time of year that everyone, for different reasons, will be seeking to narrow down those cases that can be resolved from those which cannot.  And when a large number of attorneys and clients seek to accomplish the same thing at the same time, a mediation calendar jam always occurs.

The judiciary generally sets their major trial calendars to begin in earnest in September and January.  Nobody, including the judiciary really wants to be in trial in the summer or work during the holidays!  That means that the volume of cases that are really, really ripe for mediation peak during the months from September to December.  And, as long as your case is at its peak, it is a wonderful time to mediate.  Secretly, everyone, including attorneys, want a choice of those cases to try and those to settle.

Clients are much more invested in enjoying the coming holiday schedule than sitting in a courtroom.  And, that includes corporate clients.  After all, a real live person must appear for the corporation.  And, real live persons far prefer Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, among other assorted Fall holidays, to a single minute in any courtroom.

Attorneys, if they will admit it, are equally interested in being allowed some option in their schedules.  The hard,  hot work (and oftentimes, billing) of pre-trial preparation is essentially complete for those matters scheduled for trial in the Fall and any chance to willow out the “weak-sisters”, for either side, is always welcomed.

And, in those matters in which any insurance company may be picking up any tab, including for fees, it is one of the poorly kept insurance company secrets that their accounting and reporting systems make any settlement prior to December 31, a  better bargain for any insurance company than at any other time of year.

And, it is an equally well-known fact that individuals are far more interested in money in their pocket for Christmas than at any other time of year!

But why try a new mediator?   Because, likely this volume of demand is rapidly filling or has filled the calendars of those mediators more commonly used by the volume schedulers.  And, clearly, some dates are more desirable than others and many cases will have limited dates available to all of the necessary parties. 

Further, it is highly likely that with the number of mediations to be squeezed into the limited non-holiday time available, that many mediators are going to be fully booked and very early.  Therefore, you may find that finding your required date AND the availability of your “usual suspects” will simply not allow your mediation in time to utilize this optimal mediation period unless you seek other qualified alternatives.

Answer:  Try a new mediator. 

Although some of your opposition may clamor to postpone your mediation to accommodate “their” mediator choice, if you have other reasonable alternatives available, why not use your option of “mediator rejection” to schedule a mediation during this optimal period.  Remember, all parties to any mediation have an equal choice in the selection of their mediator.

And, isn’t the timing of your mediation more important than your mediator?

Despite the common fear, expressed or not, by your opposition to any particular mediator, mediators do NOT decide the outcome of any mediation.  Despite the common belief that any one mediator or the other “gets it done”, in reality, the common thread for all successful mediations is the pre-mediation and formal mediation efforts of the parties and their counsel.  No mediator writes any check.  No mediator accepts any offer.  No mediator enters any judgment for either party.

And, do you want to go through life eating only one flavor of ice cream?  Even if you do, how can you know one flavor is really the best until you have tried others.

Fall is a wonderful time of year.  And, it just may be the perfect time of year to give a try to the volume of  good mediators available as an alternative to all.  Or to that one mediator that you have wanted to try, but just couldn’t, or at least you thought you couldn’t.  

 Who knows, you may even add this new resource to your “short list” for future use.  Fall is the perfect time for trying a new mediator.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2014 9:11 am

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  1. Mediation Preparation: Start/Maintain Your Own Short List of Trusted Mediators | Honeywell Mediation

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