A mediator helps the parties determine whether there is a bargaining zone that will allow a settlement to be reached. Mediation is an alternative form of conflict resolution, which promotes the interests of private and public resources that would otherwise be spent on litigation, while also empowering the parties to seek better justice than they would find in court. Anyone can serve as a mediator, but one should be well-trained in people skills, negotiation techniques, and knowledgeable about trial and appellate procedure and trends.
A mediator’s job includes: (1) helping the parties review and analyze their case; (2) bridging the gap of inexperience; (3) helping the parties focus on a settlement point; (4) performing reality testing to arrive at reasonable expectations; and (5) helping the parties cooperate. Adequate time, proper authority, and good faith are necessary for a successful mediation. Parties to mediation should select the mediator with care and avoid the “strong-armed” mediator. Most importantly, though, parties should trust the process of mediation.
L. Wayne Scott, Appellate Mediation—A Mediator’s Perspective, 16 App. Advoc. 13 (2004).