Should you have an initial meeting before mediation?

If your business is embroiled in a legal dispute, you have likely been counseled on the process of mediation. With this being a form of alternative dispute resolution, the mediator (at the beginning of the session) will likely have a joint conference before breaking into individual caucuses where the mediator goes back and forth between rooms.

Ideally, this meeting is meant to diffuse tension and set basic ground rules for the day. And sometimes, there may be a consensus as to what issues may be resolved before the mediation begins. However, according to a recent article, fewer litigants are taking advantage of this session. 

A survey of mediators found that less than 25 percent of California litigants did not want to have an initial joint session. Apparently, mediators and attorneys have found that joint initial meetings have become more confrontational, particularly with commercial matters. Before the mediation, counsel for each party has likely prepared mediation briefs outlining their respective positions, and the litigants have likely become entrenched with their positions. As such, it appears that more parties are coming to mediations like cowboys in the old west ready for a gunfight.

Because of this, mediators will not insist on joint initial meetings if the parties do not want one. At the same time, the refusal to participate in one may present additional problems during the mediation. Indeed a mediator may seek to diffuse this tension by playing “devil’s advocate” with each party to probe the strengths and weaknesses of each position.

 Nevertheless, not every mediation has to start from an adversarial position. For more information, the attorneys at Shulman Bastian Friedman & Bui LLP can help. 

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • NBLSC Board Certified Lawyer Rated By Super Lawyers | Ryan P. Durham Rated By Super Lawyers | Ben Boston
  • Tennessee Association For Justice | Member 2015-2016 American Association For Premier DUI Attorneys The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys | 10 best 2015 American Institute of Personal Injury attorneys | 10 best 2016 AV preeminent |  Jeffery Broker

Schedule a Consultation Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Shulman Bastian LLP | Full Service. Business. Lawyers.

100 Spectrum Center Drive
Suite 600
Irvine, CA 92618

Map & Directions

3550 Vine Street
Suite 210
Riverside, CA 92507

Map & Directions