by Lester Langer, Retired Circuit Judge
Building on the first two articles, you are now at mediation. How do you prepare?
First, if you do not have a lawyer, at least speak to one for a consult. While you can learn a lot on the internet about a particular issue, it is not the same as understanding that issue in relation to the law and the court procedures. I believe this will be money well spent.
Next understand all the issues in your case: the good, the bad and the ugly of it.
- Try to the extent possible to learn all the issues, defenses and arguments that the other side might use against you. In that way you can be prepared.
- Try to take your emotions out of it. The mediator’s job is to listen to you and the other side, talk with you individually, test your issues, and do the same with the other side as well. The mediator will ask questions, probe and ask what you want.
- Be prepared to negotiate and settle.
- Have a game plan, and have a fallback position (Plan B).
- Be patient, and do not be in a rush to get the mediation done.
Many times meditations do not settle on the day of the mediation. But you should know that most disputes settle before suit is filed or before trial. (About 85%). Many times the parties settle after the mediation because they have time to think and sift through all the ideas and alternatives that were discussed at mediation. Don’t be discouraged.
In my next article we will discuss hiring the lawyer and how to prepare when you have counsel. If you have any questions, please submit them to this newsletter, and I will do my best to respond.