How do you insure that your mediations have the best results possible? Do you have a routine that starts your client out on the right foot? During a recent CME for Family Mediators workshop, Alicia Gooden, The Mediation Group, Indianapolis, offered these well-honed pointers for a more successful mediation:
1. BE PREPARED!!!!
A. Prepare as you would for trial: Discovery, evaluations, income information, child support printout, appraisals.
B. Prepare your client: discuss the best/worst-case scenarios, strengths and weaknesses of the case, making sure they understand the realistic possible outcomes.
2. Discuss the mediation process with your client so they have a general understanding before they arrive. Talk to the client about the mediator himself/herself.
3. Send a confidential statement to the mediator- even if just a brief email. If there is a really difficult client or unique facts/background, ask for a telephone conference with the mediator or meet privately before the mediation.
4. Send all balance sheets to the mediator in advance in excel. This will save time during mediation.
5. If you want to be efficient, work on a draft of an agreement during the mediation.
6. If you are asking for fees, don’t wait until the last minute to bring that up as an issue.
7. Have any experts available during the mediation, i.e., business valuators, appraisers, other financial experts.
8. If you have a time deadline for the day, tell the mediator at the beginning of the session.
9. Don’t substitute your own opinion or view for that of your client. Listen to what your client is telling you about his/her priorities are. (This is also the job of the mediator.)
10. Have a good attitude about mediation!!
Hopefully this review gave you some food-for-thought. I appreciate Alica Gooden sharing her expertise in mediations with Law Tips readers. ICLEF has a wide array of choices for improving your mediation skills and techniques. Whatever level or type of training you require, we’re here for you. Keep an eye on the latest programs by checking our library often. You can choose mediation training as live seminars, video replays, CD-ROMs, electronic documents or publications. Click Here to see a full list of upcoming Mediation seminars.
About our Law Tips faculty participant:
Alicia A. Gooden co-founded the Family Practice Division of The Mediation Group LLC, Indianapolis, in April of 2010. She serves as a mediator, arbitrator and parenting coordinator. In her conflict resolution work, Alicia features skills, perspective and insight gained from nearly ten years on the family court bench. Alicia was appointed Master Commissioner of Marion Circuit Court, Paternity Division in February of 2001. In her role as Commissioner, Alicia presided over custody, parenting time and support issues, and supervised all of the child support enforcement dockets, in paternity cases. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Alicia was an associate attorney at Kiefer and McGoff, in Indianapolis, Indiana, practicing in the areas of family law and criminal defense.