Getting Started –
Frequently Asked Questions

How does the process begin?

As soon as the parties are ready, the mediation will be scheduled, and can generally be set within 2-4 weeks. In litigated cases, prior to the mediation, Ms. Barker will schedule a joint conference call with the attorneys and/or arrange a separate telephone call with each side to discuss the background of the dispute.

Who should attend the mediation?

The principal parties involved in the dispute and key decision-makers must attend. In litigated cases, this includes the following:

1. Named parties. For a corporation or other entity, one or more persons who have settlement authority and knowledge about the facts of the case.

2. Counsel. The attorney primarily responsible for handling the trial of the matter.

3. Insurers. Insurer representatives, if their agreement will be necessary to achieve a settlement.

What written submissions are required prior to the mediation?

In non-litigated cases, written statements are optional. However, it is helpful to have a brief written summary of the dispute from each party prior to the mediation. This can be an informal 1-2 page letter addressed to us and copied to the other side.

In litigated cases, mediation statements are generally due ten (10) days before the mediation session. Statements are submitted directly to us and exchanged with the other parties. They are not filed with the Court.

Statements should include the following:

1. The names of all persons who will attend the mediation.

2. A description of the factual and legal issues in dispute.

3. The party's view on liability issues, damages and key evidence.

4. The history and current status of any settlement discussions.

5. Copies of documents likely to make the mediation more productive.

How can I prepare for the mediation?

Give careful thought to each of the following:

 Is it important that you (or your client) resolve this dispute in mediation? Why or why not?

 If you are not able to resolve the dispute in mediation, what is your best-case alternative? What is your worst-case alternative?

 What are the strengths and weaknesses of your current position?

 What are your (or your client's) real, underlying needs and interests?
What are 2-3 ways these might be met?

  What do you believe to be the other side’s underlying needs and interests? What are 2-3 ways these might be met?

 How much has been spent or incurred to date for legal costs and attorney fees? What are the estimated costs and fees of any future litigation?

What happens at the mediation?

The mediation will begin with a joint session. Each party (and attorney) has an opportunity to state their views. The joint session provides the parties an important chance to gain a fuller understanding of each side's views. The parties then have an opportunity to discuss resolution of the dispute, and explore options for settlement. This may be done in joint session, as well as in private meetings (caucuses) with each side.

Any confidential information shared with the mediator during a private caucus is not disclosed to the other side. The terms of any agreement reached during the mediation are confirmed in a written memorandum, signed at the conclusion of the session.