ACCORDING TO FRANCIS L. CARTER
Don’t mediate until the case is ripe for settlement. Wait until the parties’ understanding of the material facts has begun to converge.
Be sure you understand what your clients want to achieve at the mediation: ask them what they want. Then ask them what they really need and why they need it.
Go to the mediation to settle your case by compromise with opposing parties, not to try your case before the mediator or to attempt to punish or humiliate an adverse party.
Know your case and prepare for the mediation as a likely case dispositive proceeding.
Don’t fall in love with your case valuation. You can evaluate your case, but you don’t get to decide your case.
In advance of the mediation conference provide the mediator with whatever written materials he or she will need to understand the case, then speak with the mediator to answer questions and make sure the mediator gets it.
Don’t negotiate against an empty suit or an empty chair: require that an opposing party have a representative with real settlement authority physically present at the mediation conference.
Use the mediator as a resource to help you formulate offers and counteroffers.
However personal the dispute, help the mediator move your client to reframe the dispute as a business problem that is susceptible to a business solution.
Be patient; don’t be the first to quit. Give the mediation process enough time to work its magic.