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Preparing the Other Side for Mediation

Surely you have enough to do?! And now Mediator Lee Wallace is telling you that you have to get the other side ready for mediation? Can’t they be responsible for their own preparations?!

Actually, there are very important — and easy — ways to get the other side ready for mediation, and that work can pay big dividends in the final result for your client.

What Does It Mean to Prepare the Other Side for Mediation?

Just like your side, the other side will meet before the mediation to discuss what the case is worth and how to approach settling the case at mediation. They will be asking themselves what a jury is likely to do given the particular facts of the case. They will be coming up with an approximate value for the case, and determining what their goals and outside parameters will be when they get to mediation.

When you get the other side ready for mediation, you make sure that they have all the critical facts about the case when they sit down at that meeting. You also ensure that you have fully briefed the other side on how you believe the damages should be measured.

If the other side comes to mediation without full information, we have the tough task of trying to change their minds, on the fly, during the mediation. You are far more likely to be able to settle the case at mediation if the other side comes with reasonable parameters than if you are trying to change their minds at mediation.

Preparing the Other Side is Critical When…

Preparing the other side is particularly important when the other side is a corporation, a large insurance company, or the Government.

It is tough enough for an individual to reassess the case on the fly at mediation, but it can be nearly impossible for a large entity to do it. The bigger the entity, the more complex the process for getting approval and authority for a settlement. The key players have to conquer the same psychological block that an individual does, but they also have the practical problem of trying to run the change through the chain of command on short notice.

These entities need as much advance notice as you can give them.

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Read More About Preparing the Other Side for Mediation:

Seven Worst Mistakes
If you want better results at mediation, avoid these seven, classic mistakes. Mistakes ## 2 and 7 both have to do with neglecting to prepare the other side with full information before mediation.

Five Ways to Increase Your Chances of Success at Mediation
This blog tells the story of two lawyers who were able to settle their case at mediation because they did five, key things right —including preparing the other side.

Do This One Simple Thing to Improve the Outcome at Your Next Negotiation
This blog talks about one surprising way to prepare the other side for a successful mediation. Read more here.

Blindsided at Mediation? Here’s What to Do – Part 1: The Blindsider
What do you do when you are at mediation and realize that you have key information that the other side does not? Here’s what to do.


Lee’s peers have named her a Georgia SuperLawyer every year for two decades.