Welcome to our first blog post! In future posts, we’ll share more details on the mediation process and how you can use it as an enormously powerful tool for you and your clients. For today, let’s start looking at the importance and power of a well-drafted mediation statement.
First, let’s talk about what a mediation statement is.
Your mediation statement is a tool that gives you an opportunity to provide essential information to the mediator at the outset. The statement, along with a pre-mediation call, isn’t just about a recitation of facts and arguments you think are important. Rather, it sets the tone for the mediation and begins to establish your rapport and credibility with the mediator, showing you to be someone who takes the mediation process seriously.
We urge you to look at mediation as distinct, in terms of expectations and approach, from traditional litigation. If you’re used to litigating matters, you may take a litigation approach and feel you have to strike first and strike hard, but is that really the first impression you want to make with your mediator who will be looking for opportunities to find common ground and options that might work for all parties? More importantly, will that approach help you get the most out of mediation?
Remember, this is a process designed to be forward-looking and find positive outcomes, even in the midst of an ongoing adversarial process. For that reason, it’s important that advocates remember that the mediation statement is different from other documents you may be used to drafting. It’s not a brief. Neither is it a motion. There’s definitely an advocacy component that may contribute to what you want to tell your mediator, but what’s the overall approach you want to take?
- Do you want to advocate and try to set the tone for why your client’s position is the right one?
- Or do you want to discuss strengths and weaknesses from a more neutral point of view showing recognition of both sides’ strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you want to confidentially share what might be palatable settlement options?
- Or do you want to share with the mediator what roadblocks you see to a negotiated settlement?
You’ll also want to establish at the outset—and your mediator will help guide this—whether you’re drafting a confidential mediation statement for the mediator’s eyes only, which is our default approach at Synergist, or whether you may want to consider mediation statements for the parties to share with each other.