What Might You Say When Asked About Mediation - Part II
By Ray Chadwick


“You can’t always get what you want;
You can’t always get what you want;
But if you try sometimes,
You just might find, You get what you need.”

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards

At the end of my article in the last newsletter, I said I would comment on what constitutes success at mediation and make some recommendations on how to achieve it.  I believe that when asked to make a presentation on, or discuss, “success” at mediation, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have hit upon it – talk about mediation not being about getting everything wanted but, instead, it being about getting what is needed to achieve a resolution that is in a party’s best interest.

I no longer say that what is good about mediation is that it results in a “win-win” for those involved.  Rather, I have come to believe, and say, that what is good about mediation is that it is a “no lose-no lose” opportunity.  In the words of Messrs. Jagger and Richards, you get what you need to end a lawsuit or dispute.

So here are some recommendations on how to achieve “success”:

  You must pick the right time to mediate.
  You should prepare yourself, your client, the mediator and your opponent for the mediation (with an explanation of what preparing your opponent means).
  You should use “mediation advocacy,” not “trial advocacy,” at a mediation – a “make peace,” not “make war,” approach.
  You should be aware of psychological barriers that often get in the way such as “advocacy bias” and “overconfidence bias.”
  You should maintain flexibility.
  At an appropriate time you should move from “advocate for your client” to “counselor to your client.”
  You must be patient – mediations almost never move along as quickly as desired.  But there is almost something magical about the process that results in resolution

NEXT TIME:  Beginning to flesh out some of my recommendations.


Ray is an Augusta based mediator & arbitrator.  Today he also serves as the Liaison Committee Chair to help facilitate communications with GODR.  He is past Chair of the Dispute Resolution Section, State Bar of Georgia and continues to serve on its Executive Committee. He also served as a member of the ADR Court Program Liaison Committee of the Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution. 

Ray can be reached at 706-823-4250 or via email at rchadwick@chadwickmediation.com


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