Preparing Your Client for Mediation

  • November 29, 2019
  • Christine Kilby

What does it look like to prepare for mediation? As good counsel, you already know to prepare an informative mediation brief to help the mediator learn the case. When the brief has been submitted, however, there is still the crucial task of helping your client to understand what to expect from, and what will be expected of them at, mediation. If you routinely attend mediation, you may not realize how much of the process is unfamiliar to most litigants.

The 5 Ws of Mediation

Beyond the broad strokes of the mediation process, clients need to understand precisely what their role will be at a mediation. Accordingly, I have prepared a table of preparatory considerations along the lines of the 5 Ws below. For clients who are experienced with mediations, not every point will be necessary to canvass. However, there are questions that counsel may benefit from considering as they prepare even a seasoned client representative. By taking the time to prepare them, you offer your clients the chance to feel comfortable at the mediation, and to engage meaningfully in the negotiations at hand. It is also a service to the other parties, and to the mediator, if you have covered issues like settlement authority in advance of the mediation.