Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Mediator as "Silent Partner"

There's been chatter lately on a variety of List serve Discussion Groups about how Mediator's can break an impasse and I have to say, I often follow my cases, sometimes daily until that log jam is broken and the case is settled. But I'm left sometimes feeling like I'm too much in the spotlight when I should be behind the camera recording the "scene" instead. For example, in several cases lately I've been asked my opinion about the following strategies while settlement negotiations are pending: how to answer discovery and when to propound it, whether to consult with bankruptcy counsel and when, whether to communicate a particular offer or rejection of a particular demand to the client now or later. Yikes! Although I enjoy the power and the challenge, I'm left questioning whether I'm becoming the Silent Partner for the inquiring counsel and whether that compromises my neutrality and impartiality in getting the matter resolved. Have we evolved to a place where we do whatever it takes to get a matter settled? Is this added value to my (lawyer) clients? Interesting queries without obvious answers.

1 comment:

Lighthouse Mediation said...

That is an interesting problem to tackle. I have found that as mediators we are often afraid of impasse or feel a need to help push clients through impasse. In some cases I have found that clients simply need time before they are able to move forward. Time is one thing many attorneys, mediators, and clients are not willing to consider. However, when I've had clients at a serious impasse I will provide them each with a relevant homework assignment and then we will schedule the next session at a later appropriate date.