When to Mediate
There is a simple answer to the question of when to mediate: when the parties feel they have sufficient information to meaningfully define their essential interests, what areas of agreement they may share, what issues separate them, and those areas of so-called “common ground” that might provide the basis for resolution.
While each case is obviously different, often (but not always) this means after some discovery has been conducted by the parties. This does not mean that every “stone” must be turned over, though, before mediation can be productive. Early mediation can frequently be quite valuable in advancing a case toward resolution, while substantially reducing the cost of litigation.
Please see Legal Triage: Ten Points to Ponder When Making Decisions About Legal Problems, for an analytic framework that may be helpful in deciding when a case may benefit from mediation.
To schedule a mediation please contact our office to provide us with some basic information and request a conflict check. While not required, we strongly recommend an initial telephone conference with the mediator and all counsel to discuss the case background and status, any issues that may affect the scheduling of mediation, and an agreed date and time for the session.
This initial telephone conference can typically be accomplished within a week to ten days, depending upon the availability of all counsel. If not workable, alternative arrangements can be made, such as individual telephone conferences and E-mail.
Since we typically schedule mediations at least thirty (30) to sixty (60) days in advance (depending upon the time of the year), we encourage you to call as early as possible to assure obtaining a date agreeable to all parties.
Once a date, time and location for mediation are agreed to by the parties and counsel, a confirming E-mail will be sent. Please review our policy regarding Fee Deposits and Cancellations or Continuances.
Scheduling Urgent Matters
We hold in reserve a limited number of dates for urgent matters, such as cases with an imminent trial date. If you are facing particular deadlines, or other time constraints, please alert us to them so we can try to accommodate you.
Generally, our mediation sessions take place at locations designated by the mediator in San Francisco, the Peninsula or San Jose, depending upon the venue of the case and the location and desires of the parties and their counsel.
Arrangements can be made for alternative sites when this is more convenient for the parties and their counsel, but any cost of the alternative site, and related expenses, must be borne by the parties.
We take the issue of conflicts-of-interest very seriously, and are committed to providing our mediation services in an environment of strict impartiality.
We have represented numerous persons and companies over the years, and have worked with many lawyers. While we attempt to advise you of any circumstances we feel may affect a party’s perception of our fairness or impartiality, it is also the responsibility of the parties and their representatives to bring to our attention any circumstance that they believe might create any conflict for the mediator.
In the final analysis, though, the ultimate safeguard lies in the fact that mediation is a voluntary process, with the participants making their own judgments. The ultimate decision whether to resolve their differences rests with them. The mediator does not decide, or provide legal counsel or advice in any way to any party, but only acts as a guide during this process.