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THE MEDIATION PROCESS

JOINT SESSION:

STEP 1: Introduction (try to keep it around 2-3 minutes). 

Introduce yourself, have parties introduce themselves.
Explain and sign Mediation Agreement.
Describe process (no interruptions; note-taking; Complainant speaks first, then Respondent.
Describe joint & private sessions, confidentiality.
Discuss no lawyer "representation."
Reinforce objective of mediation (resolution, not fact finding or investigation).

STEP 2: Complainant gives account of the circumstances which lead to the filing of the complaint.  

Ask Complainant to describe the circumstances leading to the filing of the complaint.
Listen.
Ask questions only if necessary, try to reserve questions until the end.
Keep things flowing.
DO NOT ASK WHAT COMPLAINANT WANTS.

STEP 3: Respondent gives its account of the circumstances and discusses the reason for its action(s). 

Listen.
Ask questions only if necessary.

STEP 4: Ask Complainant and Respondent questions to define the issues. 

At your discretion, you may allow Complainant and Respondent to ask each other questions, assess attitudes towards each other.
Do not ask meaningless questions.
DO NOT ASK WHAT COMPLAINANT WANTS.
Inform parties of subsequent steps: caucus, private confidential sessions beginning with Complainant & final joint session.
Direct all parties to the waiting area.

STEP 5: Caucus with your co-mediator. 

Examine your findings.
Consider options for settlement. Map-out your strategy for Step 6.

PRIVATE SESSIONS:

STEP 6: Hold private, confidential session with Complainant. This is the most important step in the mediation process. Have some sort of idea so to what approach you plan to take.  

Build Trust.
Ask Complainant if they have any thing else to add.
Do not rehash the same material discussed in the joint session.
Summarize your understanding of what has been said so far.
Assess case, review what it takes to make a prima facie case.
Do reality check.
ASK WHAT COMPLAINANT WANTS.

STEP 7: Hold private, confidential session with Respondent.  

Summarize your understanding of what has been said so far.
Assess case.
Inform Respondent of what Complainant wants.
NEGOTIATION BEGINS.

STEP 8: During the negotiation process, a series of private confidential sessions may be necessary.  

Throughout the negotiation process, your objective is to explore options for settlement.
Encourage the parties as problems are resolved.
Assess the productivity of the process; continue or end negotiations.

AGREEMENT & CONCLUSION:

STEP 9: Go over the terms of the negotiated settlement agreement with the parties.  

Clarify the exact wording of the agreement.
Prepare the agreement, contact Dispute Resolution Specialist for sample agreements.
Have parties review and sign the agreement.
Co-mediators sign as witnesses.
Make a copy for each party, provide original to the Mediation Program Director (06B)
Thank the parties for participating and conclude the mediation.
Remember a favorite quote:
 
 "There is no set way to mediate, everything depends." 
 
Last Updated June 17, 1998. 

Reviewed/Updated: March 21, 2004