By Carolyn Woodruff, JD, CPA, CVA
Here are some tips based upon frequently asked questions. There are two types of Mediation: in-person and Zoom (or other remote protocol). With Covid, we have had the advent of Zoom, Teams, and WebEx. So here goes:
Dress to be comfortable but professional. You make an impression on the mediator, and while that should not affect your case – impressions are subtle and subliminal. Business casual is the preferred dress. There is no reason to recreate the wheel on what business casual means.
If you are a lady, wear reasonable makeup. You want to look put together and complete.
Wear some reasonable adornments – be the beautiful person you are. Jewelry can help you feel good about yourself.
Style your hair for the day.
I would dress in layers for a live mediation. You are at Mediation for several hours, and temperatures in law offices can vary during the day.
You will be offered lunch if the Mediation is live. However, days can get long, so bring it with you if you have a favorite snack.
If you have food allergies, please be sure to advise your attorney so that the catered lunch is ordered correctly.
If you use a laptop, have it with a charging cable (Live Mediation). Often it is easier to email you drafts to read, even in a live mediation. Of course, you will be on a computer if the Mediation is remote, such as on Zoom.
Sometimes the mediator is with the other side for an hour or more. Bring a book you are reading or your kindle to occupy your time when you are not speaking with your attorney or when the mediator is not present with your side.
If you are responsible for picking up children after school, please try to make other arrangements for the Mediation. If you cannot make other arrangements, advise your attorney of this fact at least 14 days before the Mediation to adjust the mediation stop time.
Friends and Family at Mediation.
Talk with your attorney about the wisdom of bringing the person or people you want to bring. While friends and family are not prohibited, there are considerations. Will the person help resolve the case? With COVID, what are vaccine statuses, and what is the size of the conference room for distancing?
For safety reasons, we recommend masks for in-person mediations.
Preparation prior to Mediation.
Schedule at least one preparation session and optimally two before the Mediation with your attorney. Have your first offer ready. Know your top reasonable objectives and stick to them.
Finishing a case is a big exhale – relief. Frequently, clients plan a dinner or drinks with a friend for after Mediation to complete the day.
Be patient. Rome was not built in a day. Some mediations take more than a day. Sometimes these days are not consecutive.
See you next time,