It is hard to believe that it is time for me to do another year in review. 2023 was a year of learning and growth. Here are some of the mediation lessons I learned in 2023.
In-Person Mediation is Back: With the end of the pandemic, the number of in-person mediations is increasing. Personally, I enjoy meeting in-person with parties to commit the day to work out a resolution of the dispute. Hybrid mediations in which one party appears for the mediation in-person while the other party appears via Zoom is also increasing. While in-person and hybrid mediations are increasing, there is no doubt that Zoom mediation is here to stay.
The Benefits of Continuing to Negotiate: So many of my cases in 2023 settled, notwithstanding the parties starting out very far apart. The benefits of continuing to negotiate are clear. With every offer and response, more information is learned which provides further insight into ways in which the parties can narrow their differences. My mediations in 2023 reaffirmed that virtually every case can be resolved if the parties are committed to the process and continue to negotiate.
A Mediator’s Proposal is an Important Tool at the Right Time: I settled many cases in 2023 utilizing a mediator’s proposal. For a mediator’s proposal to be effective, the parties must first exhaust their negotiations. Spending the time throughout the course of the mediation to evaluate the case and the parties’ negotiation styles is the only way for a mediator to craft an effective mediator’s proposal. It is also true that it is always preferable for the parties to reach resolution without the need for a mediator’s proposal.
Mediation Works: The biggest lesson I learned in 2023 reaffirmed what I already knew. Mediation is the best tool to resolve a dispute. It is far better to mediate than to litigate. Mediation avoids the expense and uncertainty of litigation. It puts the decision making in the hands of the litigants where it belongs.
Thank you for putting your faith in me in 2023. I look forward to learning new mediation lessons in 2024.