R. Bruce Lowry, Dayton OH email@example.com 10/30/07
I have two, and only two, rules: One, everybody goes by first names; Two, nobody hits anybody. Everything else is situational. These have served me well. I've been very lucky in that a vast majority of attorneys and other frequent mediating parties I've dealt with over the past fifteen years have been collegial, professional, prepared (usually) and candid. Trust is never automatic, and shouldn't be, but in my present situation trust is very rarely an issue. I've learned when to ask parties what their limits are and when not to. Like all of us, I've heard "That's our final offer" and "We're getting close" and other such threats thousands of times. Usually I know when to give credence and when to ignore them.
I believe it's the mediator's job to set the tone at the outset. If that's done properly, doing the next right thing will usually result in a good session, settlement or no. I simply can't imagine having a better job: it pays well; the people are nice, and it's never, ever boring. How many people can say that?!
Kent , Chicago IL firstname.lastname@example.org 10/19/07
The Credibility Game - central to the article
There is no answer. It always depends on the individuals involved in the negotiation, and guess what, the same individual in a different mediation may operate [I use that verb advisedly] differently. In addition the "chemistry" between the individuals may change things. In addition the particular matter may make a difference. In addition the relationship of an attorney to that particular client may make a difference. In addition.... You get the idea. As a mediator I have been "tag teamed" by multiple counsel on one side of a case and had a suspicion I was being had, but not the extent of it which I learned later by accident. That is the interesting thing about being a mediator -- and the curse.