When I sit down to pen an article for the ADR Blog to help Attorneys, I find that I’m naturally drawn to alliteration. The words that sprang to mind were easy for this one: Persistence, Patience, Positive, Palliate, Possible, Prevention and Principle.  Let me talk about how each word can impact your mediation:

1. Persistence– You are going to have to be persistent when you are involved in a mediation.  At one point or another, you will reach an impasse during your negotiations. If you are persistent in your attempts to resolve your dispute; i.e. be creative,  look at how many small agreements you have accomplished, keep the conversation going; you will have a better chance at succeeding in the mediation.

2. Patience– Patience and persistence go hand in hand.  In order to be persistent during a mediation, you, also, need to be patient.  Patience is a virtue. The process needs time to percolate. You might get frustrated by the length of time the mediation takes, but a mediation that achieves a resolution is well worth the wait.

3. Positive – Stay positive.  Negative energy can doom a mediation.  Your attitude does matter, so keep it positive.  Your attitude can impact your client’s attitude, too.  A positive attitude about the progress you are seeing can be contagious.

4. Palliate – Part of staying positive is to palliate the dispute between the parties.  You should take it down a notch and lower the rhetoric; that will go a long way in calming the atmosphere in the room and contribute to a successful resolution.

5. Possible – Anything is possible in a mediation.  You can reach settlements during a mediation that are just not obtainable from a trial.  The possibilities of the types of resolutions that you can see as a result of a mediation are only limited by your own creativity.

6. Prevention –  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  A resolution obtained from a mediation might prevent a disaster that may occur after a long and protracted trial.  The certainty of a settlement is better than the uncertainty and risk of a trial.

7. Principle –  Being principled is an attribute that most people find to be wonderful. However, how many times have you heard from a client that they won’t settle because “it’s the principle…”?  A principled party to a mediation can be an impediment to reaching a settlement. You will have to use all your skills as a lawyer to show your principled client that a resolution is more advantageous than going to trial.  You shouldn’t let a principled client get in the way of a good resolution that would be in the client’s best interest.

Well, there you have it.  A few more insights that will help you, as a lawyer, become a more effective participant in the mediation process.