“The prospect of a long and rancorous court battle was defused when the major players involved, including the city’s retired workers and financial creditors, agreed, at the bankruptcy judge’s urging, to hash out the terms of a deal in a private mediation process.” Yup, mediation helped Detroit navigate through the bankruptcy process easier and with a better deal than what a court would have probably imposed. Read more here.
I say it over and over again. The biggest benefits come to those who mediate early – before positions have been rooted. In the Detroit bankruptcy case, the Bankruptcy judge played a big role in urging the parties to mediate. In my recent seminar, I talked about what I believe to be the number one strategy for dealing with the emotional issues in family law litigation – mediating early. One participant asked me how to get that done when attorneys and/or parties are often unwilling to mediate early.
Get the judge involved. Call an early case management conference or Motion the court for mediation and talk about the issues and why the case would benefit from early mediation – even early mediation with a certain mediator. The court is in a unique position to alter the behavior of the parties. Educating the judge can incline the judge to talk about mediation with the parties and urge them to engage. A judge’s urging is meaningful to parties sitting right in front of him/her and, for so many reasons, the parties have so much gain!