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  • Writer's pictureGeraldine Waxman, ESQ.

Steps to Successful Mediation

In mediation, the parties cannot make informed decisions until all the information has been placed “on the table,” explored and sorted.

What does this mean? Like putting together a puzzle, one must put all the pieces on the board and sort through them, checking how each piece relates one to the other (color, size, shape, etc). Both parties and, importantly, the mediator must have knowledge of all the "pieces" of information that will affect potential decision making. Just like a puzzle, one starts with the easiest pieces: the outer edges of a puzzle that show you where the framework exists. In mediation, starting with those things that will give both parties an immediate "win-win" is helpful and therefore commencing with something not complicated is helpful. Moreover, because the mediator needs the big picture it is also helpful to list all the issues first before attempting to work out an agreement using only "one piece of the puzzle." Lastly, any good puzzle takes time; time to think and reorganize and move the parts, time to reflect and look back at the "big picture" and time to see how things “fit.” Eventually, all of the pieces will fit perfectly.

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