There has been much success with a proposed mediator having personal pre-mediation meetings Zoom meetings with each of the parties and their attorneys. The purpose of these meetings is not to engage in any position taking or engaging anything which looks like negotiations. Rather the Guiding Mediator is the one who sells the process to overcome resistance to their early hire. Parties should come away from these pre-mediation meetings with a sense of trust that the mediator seems to be someone who can be helpful. The help is not just in assisting in settlement negotiations. Rather the help includes information exchange on a collaborative basis. This could be useful whether the case settles or not. When the mediator performs these kind of services they are considered process design.
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