Mediation Submissions: 5 Tips for Success


There are times when an attorney, preparing for an upcoming mediation, contacts the mediator to find out what the mediation submission should contain. Mediators like this question, because most do have preferences, and there is nothing worse than wading through a confusing or incomplete submittal. Not surprisingly, a poorly written and unorganized brief affects the mediator’s ability to understand and evaluate the case.

So what does a mediator prefer? Here are a few simple guidelines:

  • Provide a chronology. You know your case inside and out, but the mediator does not and is trying to get up to speed in a short time frame. Help out your mediator: provide a short, one page chronology of important events.
  • Tell a compelling story. That’s right—your mediator wants a detailed, compelling statement of facts that is well organized and easily digestible. Clear, concise writing makes a good impression and allows your mediator to fully grasp your position before the mediation starts. And consider sharing your brief with the opposing side; you can always submit an additional, confidential brief to the mediator.
  • Be timely. You want your mediator to be prepared and effective. Submitting your brief by the mediator’s deadline is the best way to ensure that happens. If your brief comes in late, the mediator—who may have to cram the night before the mediation—has much less time to understand and consider your position.
  • Exhibits. These can help your case, but make sure they are presented in an organized fashion. If an exhibit is confusing or its significance is unclear, provide an explanation.
  • Key Information. Here’s some of the most important information you should convey: 1) summary of settlement negotiations to date; 2) key issues in dispute; 3) perceived roadblocks to settlement, i.e. what is the true impasse to settlement? (this requires an honest, thorough evaluation of the case); and 4) in personal injury cases, disclose any lien or subrogation claims.

Pacific ADR stands ready to assist in the efficient resolution of your dispute. To learn more, please visit our website or call us at 206.624.3388.

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