Preparation leads to good results and it takes time investment by both the client and the attorney to get ready. We believe the opportunity to work out a favorable settlement should not be squandered.
So, what can you do to prepare? Here are some steps to follow.
- Identify the important issues. Hopefully, you already know what your goals, needs and interests are. Sometimes, however, a goal may change in the course of the case. For example, at the beginning, a party may want revenge or to punish the other party (not necessarily a course of action we would endorse, by the way). After time passes, sometimes the anger cools and the party decides he or she just wants to get the case over with. It is actually very common for goals and needs to change. You should tell us about any changes of attitude or plans.
- Figure out the other side’s goals, needs and motivations. You can put together a series of positions you might be able to take to compromise and come to an agreement. You probably need to build in room to make some concessions so the other side will feel like he or she has won something.
- Gather needed paperwork. Find out what paperwork you may need and then have it ready for the mediation. It usually helps to have updated print-outs of all financial accounts so you can work with current and accurate numbers. We can discuss what you will need.
- Adjust your attitude. Don’t dwell on emotional issues, especially anger. Think of the negotiations as a business deal. Don’t let personalities into the mix. You can make a better deal if you can stay calm and rational during the mediation session. Think of the advantages of getting the dispute resolved and being able to move on with your life.
- Ask questions. We have done lots of mediations. We may not explain every detail or may assume that you know or understand something that is confusing or foreign to you. Take the time to ask questions. We want to help you, so help yourself by seeking clarity for you and us.
Communication with us before and during the mediation session will be key to you being comfortable, prepared and successful. Good luck!