How to Prepare for Your First Mediation

If you have scheduled your first mediation session related to a county or circuit civil lawsuit matter, you may feel a bit nervous or unsure of what to expect.  Mediation is one of the most frequently used methods of negotiating cases when it is determined not to pursue the matter through the court system. In mediation, you and the opposing party will work with a neutral third party, called a mediator, to meet with you in an effort to discuss and resolve the issues in your case. The mediator does not make decisions for you, but serves as a facilitator to help both parties determine the best solution.

There are several benefits to mediation including the following:

  • Much less expensive than a court trial or a series of hearings
  • Allows parties to attempt to constructively resolve their disputes before positions harden
  • Mediation is confidential, so there is no public record of what goes on in your sessions
  • You and the opposing party control the process rather than the court system maintaining control
  • You can still have a lawyer give you legal advice if you wish Mediation Preparation. In order to ensure you are properly prepared for your first mediation session, we have prepared the following checklist to help guide you.
  1. Know Your Mediator. It is very important that you get to know your mediator in advance.  Selecting a mediator with the appropriate substantive knowledge and strong background in the particular type of matter you are faced with, can make a big difference to the success of the mediation process.  Mediators tend to have different styles as well.  For example, some may be more passive while others are more aggressive at facilitating the discussion between parties.
  2. Analyze (and re-analyze) Your Case. Mediations become challenging when lawyers and their clients aren’t properly prepared with all the details surrounding their case, such as knowing the particular strengths and weaknesses they face. Some due diligence you may wish to conduct ahead of time with the help of your attorney includes assessing possible claims and the likelihood of success, interviewing key witnesses, understanding what litigation costs may be and so forth.
  3. Talk to Your Mediator Ahead of Time. Schedule a call or meeting with your mediator in advance of the mediation session to have a “pre-meditation” discussion.  This conversation is helpful for both you and the mediator as it can uncover any issues that may exist as well as clarify any questions related to mediation statements.  The call can also give a better sense as to what is going on between the parties.
  4. Be prepared to negotiate, not fight. The purpose of a mediation is to resolve your difficulties and to serve as a proactive process. Arguments between parties will not allow you to effectively reach an agreement .
  5. Get the help of attorney. It is important to know what your rights are and to get legal advice that will assist you during the mediation process. This advice does not have to be geared towards litigation and can help you understand what options are available to you. If you are represented by an attorney, the question will arise whether your attorney should attend the county or circuit civil lawsuit mediation with you. This is something you’ll work out with the mediator, your attorney, the opposing party, and the opposing party’s attorney.

    If you are considering mediation for your county or circuit civil lawsuit matter, consider Olivero Law, P.A. for your mediation needs.  We seek to amicably resolve the matter at hand and help you avoid time-consuming and costly court proceedings.  Contact Olivero Law, P.A. to speak to a certified mediator today. Attorney Olivero is certified by the Florida Supreme Court for both County and Circuit Court mediations.

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