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Basic Mediation Administration: Helpful Hints To Use For A Much Smoother Ride

December 3, 2015

Mediation in Florida state or federal litigation is, overall, one of the best procedural bargains currently available equally to all sides of any litigated dispute.  Its easy unilateral procedures can be used by any party for everything from simply moving a non-moving case to obtaining inexpensive expedited discovery to partial and of course, full resolution and can include almost anything else that good legal minds can conceive for use of this informal, efficient means to relatively quickly interact with the opposition.  See, i.e., Mediation Tip:  Litigators, Use Mediation to Move Your Case!, March 23, 2012.

However, the simplest administrative error of even the most routine procedural step in scheduling and obtaining the optimum full participation for your intended interim or final mediation session can cost you dearly.

Accordingly, here are a few pre-holiday reminders of ten (10) very simple administrative steps that if followed will allow you to maximize your planned intent and full  prepared participation for your mediation and to ensure your maximum mediation return for your efforts.

First,  please carefully plan and thoughtfully select the proper timing and thus the optimum proposed date for your mediation, whether an interim or final session.  Wrong timing is the single most common cause of failure of any given mediation.  See, Timing the Scheduling of Your Mediation, January 28, 2012; See, also, i.e. “But They Asked for this Mediation!”, January 7, 2013 and Early Mediation: A Reminder of the Pros and Cons, January 13, 2104.

Second, consult your personal “mediator short list” and consider those trusted mediators that seem to be best suited for your elected mediation goals.  Then actively work with your opposition to MUTUALLY select the one mediator that serves all of the participants, equally.  Would you ever allow your opposition to unilaterally pick your judge?  See, Picking Your Mediator Should Be Like Picking Your Jury.  August 4, 2011.

Third, file/serve your own Notice of Mediation, with a courtesy service copy to your mutually elected Mediator.  You can never have too much correct notice.  Do not depend on others for something so important.  See, Mediation Procedure Suggestion:  Send Your Own Notice of Mediation.  April 4, 2014

Fourth, file/serve your Certificate of Authority, timely, but, again, always serve a “courtesy” copy of your Certificate upon your mutually elected Mediator.   All attendance/authority questions will always start with your mediator!   See, Florida Mediation Procedure:  PLEASE, Send Your Mediator a “Courtesy Copy” of  Your Certificate of Authority,  March 30, 2012; Mediation Certificate of Authority:  More Thoughts on More Questions Being Raised.  May 31, 2012

Fifth, timely send a Mediator’s Summary (or at least something as simple as your last amended operative pleading?) to your Mediator.  (And, if a true summary, consider sending an informative, even if redacted) version of it to your opponent.)  Ask any mediator how important this summary is to them.  See, Your All-Important Pre-Mediation Summary:  Seven Other Valuable Uses!  March 23, 2015

Sixth, timely consult, by telephone, or in person, pre-formal mediation with your elected Mediator, including in this verbal conference matters not commonly shared with your opposition.  The more information your mediator has, before mediation, the better and more efficiently they can serve.  See, A Role of the Mediator?:  Assisting Participants to be Ready to Mediate, July 23, 2011

Seventh,  timely review and establish your case evaluation and negotiation goals.  Know where you intend to go and what you intend to do.  See, Mediation Negotiation Technique:  Create a Negotiation Plan, October 16, 2012; Mediation Negotiation:  One Reliable Method of Evaluating Personal Injury Damages, December 18, 2013

Eighth, schedule your pre-mediation conference date for the critical time to spend with your represented parties/clients for  finalizing their understanding and authority of your recommended mediation and negotiation goals.  Remember, the intent of mediation is for informed, voluntary choices by the parties.

Ninth, prepare a draft of your proposed “Settlement Agreement Reached by Mediation” to take with you on flash-drive form to be used as a guide and final form for your successful resolution.  Many common subjects of mediation do not have available “form” settlement agreements.  See, i.e., Mediation Settlement Agreements:  What You Should Know, January 18, 2012

Tenth, prepare for inclusion in your Mediation/MSA Notebook those general and specific matters you will routinely need at your (or every?) formal mediation.  Would you go to trial without your Trial Notebook? See, i.e., Your MSA Notebook:  Release Language Ethics, et al, November 30, 2011.; Mediation Tip:  Start/Keep a Mediation Notebook, July 8, 2014

Following these simple administrative and procedural steps, I assure you, will pay specific dividends back to you and your clients in demonstrably better results in every mediation.  See, Become One of the Top Ten Percent of All Mediating Attorneys, April 11, 2013.

Sometimes it is merely the little things that make the superior lawyer.

Happy Holidays to all.  My small efforts at a gift to you.  Dan, from Winter Park, Florida.


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