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Six things your mediator wants you to know

1. Choose your mediator carefully. It will be more efficient for you if you choose an attorney who has experience with the litigation of cases like yours.

2. If you don’t feel comfortable with the mediator, find another one.

3. Understand that the mediator is not an arbitrator or a judge: his or her job is to guide the discussion and make certain an agreement is reached on all relevant issues.

4. Be ready to set aside your anger and your sadness and your regret. Mediation is not therapy. If you are not ready to talk about the dispute in a business-like manner, go to therapy, go to church, train for a marathon – do what you need to do to be ready to appropriately participate in the mediation process.

5. Listen to the other party when he or she is talking. You cannot really listen if you are formulating your response. Let the other party know you have heard what they said. You can do this without agreeing with what was said. You will increase your chances of getting what you want if the other party feels that they have been heard.

6. Consult an attorney with experience in the area of the dispute so you are going to mediate so you understand the parameters of a fair settlement.

Leigh Joy Carson was trained in mediation in 1985. This article was prepared with assistance from mediators David Lacks (314) 863-4100 and Greg Brough (314) 725-0001.