Mediation can be hard. Often, the parties start out a great distance apart, work towards narrowing the gap, but occasionally can’t quite straddle the gulf to come to an agreement in a single day. Last week, I gave my final lesson to my students at Pepperdine on sophisticated steps for breaking an impasse. I told them that it was a matter of both skill and faith.
I would say all of those cases were ripe for mediation at the time I was asked to mediate them. How can that be? Simple. In each case, the attorneys/parties had the right information, and a strong enough desire to settle, in order to make good decisions. Could those cases, which were further into the judicial process, have been resolved sooner? Possibly. But in retrospect, I don’t think they were ready until we mediated them.