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A mediation brings together representatives of the parties and their counsel in front of a mediator. It is an informal, but confidential process.

Most mediations will commence with comments from the mediator, followed by opening statements from the parties and/or their counsel. These opening statements will normally focus on how the parties see the dispute and may suggest ways for its resolution.

The mediator will then work with the parties and their counsel to develop and consider the issues driving the dispute, what the parties' interests may be (i.e. their needs, desires and concerns), and what options for resolving the dispute may exist.

Very often a realistic and workable business solution for the dispute will be the result of the mediation..

As a preliminary step, even before the mediation takes place, I will meet separately with each set of parties and their counsel, for an hour or two to orient them with respect to the mediation process and what they can do to make it more likely to succeed. I call this step "pre-mediation", and have found it to be extremely important and useful in leading to a successful outcome in the mediation itself.