Mediation is a process where parties enlist a neutral third party (the mediator) to help them find a solution to a dispute they could not settle on their own. It has a success rate in excess of ninety percent and rarely takes more than a day. When successful, it saves the parties tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation costs and eliminates the risk of a verdict imposed by a judge, jury or arbitrator. Most importantly, it lets the parties quickly get back to what they do best; living their lives and running their businesses.


So what makes mediation work so well? Many factors; perhaps the most critical being the right mediator.

Commercial mediations all follow a common pattern; sharing facts and positions, probing weaknesses in each side’s arguments, assessing risk, and handicapping probable outcomes. Yet, each mediation follows its own course because each dispute is factually and legally different. More significantly, human beings are involved in the process and we all absorb and process information, and make decisions, in our own unique ways.

bridge of mediation

The mediator’s task is to quickly grasp the facts, understand each party’s position, identify the key impediments to settlement, and then use his/her skills to maneuver the parties to common ground. He/she, of course, has the advantage of being the only one who knows what is going on in each separate caucus. Using that advantage to bring the parties together requires;

  • Experience with a broad range of mediation styles, tactics, and concepts
  • Thorough knowledge of the industry involved in the dispute
  • Deep practical experience with mediation and litigation of similar issues
  • An ability to read and relate to the people involved: “to think like a businessman”
  • The ability to craft and suggest new and creative solutions
  • Good negotiating skills
  • Patience and perseverance
  • The ability to be forceful when needed

The skill of the mediator is in knowing when, and how, to use those tools and when to sit back and allow the mediation to follow its own course.

Geoffrey Chism has mediated an incredibly broad range of disputes, for a wide variety of clients, with the most respected mediators in the northwest and the entire country. That experience has allowed him to develop skills that work and knowledge of the pitfalls and minefields that permeate every mediation. It is his ability to use those skills and knowledge to the maximum effect that helps the parties to find a solution to a dispute they could not settle on their own.

 
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