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Manual > 5 - Getting Started > Introductory Session

Sample Introductory Session

In circumstances where the parties are representing their own interests in mediation, are not experienced negotiators, when information and documentation needs to be developed, and when parties are uncertain whether they want to proceed with actual mediation negotiations, it is common to have a more comprehensive and isolated introductory mediation session. This is especially common in family and divorce mediation. A model agenda for such a comprehensive introductory session follows:

1. Welcome and Introductions

2. Introductory Phase: Easy, Educational, Confidential

a. Prior Contacts
b. Tell Me About You
(Ask about the participants as people, e.g. employment, time lived there, free time, etc., for rapport.)
c. Tell Me About Your Situation
(Ask: "Tell me about your situation?" or, "How can I help you?"

3. An Overview of Mediation

a. Definition (also not arbitration, representation, or therapy)
b. Voluntary
c. Collaborative
d. Controlled
e. Impartial - Neutral
f. Confidential
g. Informed
h. Safe

4. Mediation Fees

a. How long will it take?
b. How much will it cost?
c. Who pays?
d. Agreement to Mediate
e. Deposit, billing, responsibility between participants

5. Attorneys and Legal Process

a. Encourage legal counsel; advise legal review; your choice ultimately
b. Best use is 1-4 hours, at beginning and to review draft agreement
c. Send confirming letter to representational counsel
d. Additional experts, individually or jointly, confidential, non-binding (as you desire)

6. Memorializing Progress - Work Product

a. Letters of progress
b. Memorandum of Understanding (Settlement Agreement) draft to final
c. Legal process

7. Next Session (future pace experience)

a. Sign Agreement to Mediate
b. Review Ground Rules
c. Share Perspectives
d. Review Information and Documentation
e. Review and Expand Points of Agreement
f. Confirm Overall Mediation Agenda
g. On each issue: your interests and your principles and standards

8. Homework: All Possible Points of Agreement

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