Mediators often have substantial influence over the mediation, and selecting the right mediator is a significant decision. Among other things, it will require research into the skills, experience and style of the mediator.
First, it is important to consider whether your matter may benefit from having a mediator with experience or expertise in a particular area, for example, engineering or environmental matters. Although it is not essential that a mediator have legal expertise, in some circumstances, it may be helpful. This could be the case if there are a number of key legal issues between the parties or if you are interested in testing your legal arguments prior to any potential arbitration or litigation.
Second, it is essential to note that mediators will sometimes adopt a particular style. For example, a facilitative mediator will seek to encourage and guide discussions between the parties but may not provide his or her opinion (or even offer a recommended course of action). By contrast, an evaluative mediator may be more proactive and point out to the parties any weaknesses in their respective cases.
A mediator’s style can have great impact on the potential for the parties to reach a settlement. It will be necessary to assess whether a mediator’s particular style will work with your issues and complement your strategy.
3. A clear strategy
A focussed strategy is integral to a successful mediation and you should ensure that your objectives are well understood and clearly defined.