Preparing to Mediate a Complex Contract Dispute in Florida


Mediating a complex contract dispute in Florida may seem overwhelming, even for the most experienced attorneys. Complex contract disputes may involve multiple businesses and individuals, as well as the careful analysis of various contract terms. Many complex contract disputes in Florida end up in state or federal court, where they linger for months or even years before they are finally resolved. However, mediation is also a viable option for these complex disputes. With proper preparation, you may secure a settlement agreement for your clients.

First, unless litigation has already begun and reached the point where the pleadings clearly describe the positions of the parties, it is important to discuss the claims with the other attorneys on the case a few weeks prior to mediation. Confirming each party’s position in writing before mediation is also a wise move, as it allows each party to understand where the others stand. Your mediator will also appreciate this move, as he or she will have a better idea of what issues need to be mediated. You may also elect to schedule a pre-mediation conference with the other attorneys and the mediator before the session.

Mediation may take place months after you come onto the case. Make sure to review the relevant documents in the case with your client so that you are both refreshed on the issues and facts in the dispute. Often, a seemingly small fact may make a major difference in settlement negotiations at mediation.

The attorneys and the mediator should also discuss how the session will proceed—for example, will the parties be divided into groups? Which issues will be mediated first? Will mediation occur over the course of several sessions? The key to successfully mediating complex contract disputes is to carefully and thoroughly prepare for the session.

Finally, do not forget the importance of preparing your clients. Though this may be your hundredth mediation, it may be their first.