Toward More Effective Mediation
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Having participated in mediations for thirty years, as mediator or legal counsel, I have of course had a number of unsatisfactory experiences. Some mediators lacked expertise in insurance coverage. This hindered them from optimally relaying the parties' positions to one another, and prevented them from serving as an informed evaluator. Often these mediators limited themselves to shuttling between breakout rooms merely to relay dollar figures. Some mediators (one of whom bragged of handling five mediations the week during which mine was scheduled) evidently were too busy to familiarize themselves with the parties' settlement briefs and the applicable law. Others, though more rarely, saw their role as a hostile judge, condemning the merits of both parties' cases, at the cost of some credibility.
I aim to provide more effective mediation. To do so, I concentrate on the area I know thoroughly: insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes. This allows me to accurately convey the parties' positions and enables me to be an informed and objective evaluator. I also will not schedule more than one mediation per week. This allows me to devote the time and, equally important, the undivided concentration, so that I can pose useful questions, assist the parties in appraising theirs and the other party's position, and be readily available so that settlement momentum is not lost. I have found that these practices have in the past proved highly effective and will remain valuable as I now devote myself to a career as mediator.