Prepare your client for mediation 

Explain the Mediation process carefully, dispelling some of the common myths if you can.

Explain the benefits, and the alternatives if litigation or arbitration continues.

Explain that the Mediator is neutral, and that it is not necessary or appropriate to try to convince the Mediator of your client's point of view.

Take your client through the Position Statements. Explain that the confidential section is for the Mediator's eyes only and will NOT be seen by the other parties.

Examine your client's attitude towards the case; do they have realistic expectations of the outcome? Explain weaknesses as well as strengths.

Find out, if you can, if there are any sensitive or personal issues involved - this happens surprisingly often. You and your client will be better prepared if they have been addressed by you in advance of the mediation.

Choose, with your client, the individuals who will attend, and make sure your client's representative has authority to settle. Do you need third parties, such as insurers or experts? But do NOT turn up mob handed - only bring those people you really need.

Explain confidentiality - make sure your client understands this on two levels - first, the confidentiality between each party and the mediator, and second, the confidentiality of the whole session as regards court and the outside world. Explain that if your client wishes to bring someone not actually connected to the case with them for support, this person will also need to sign the Agreement to bind them to the confidentiality clauses.

Explain that the Mediation process takes time, and that it is likely that there will be times when a way forward does not appear to be possible. (When this happens in the Mediation, encourage your client to think of creative ideas e.g. items that are important to the other party, but relatively 'cheap' for your client to give, and vice versa e.g. structured payments, use of other facilities in the future, special prices on new orders, parking.)

Study any documentation provided by the mediator or mediation provider (such as a Day Sheet detailing the logistics of the day, start time, venue, any parking or other useful transport information that may be provided), to make sure you and your clients are fully prepared and understand the logistics of the day – this minimises any stress that might be present on the morning of the mediation.