Often times, when you walk into a settlement negotiation room you can feel the tension between the parties. That tension is sometimes added to or even encouraged by lawyers for the litigants, especially those who believe they have the stronger case.
One of the roles of the professional mediator is to manage that tension. By having appropriate pre-hearing meetings with each of the parties the mediator will start to understand the relationship between the litigants and some of the underlying causes of the conflict. He or she is often the only person in the room with whom both participants have any measure of trust. Utilizing that trust to establish an atmosphere where the parties can have an open dialog is a key part of the mediation process.
Even so, the parties are never without their own internal tensions. According to Harvard’s Professor Mnookin (Bargaining with the Devil) management of the internal tension between empathy (demonstrating understanding of the other side’s viewpoint) while also communicating assertiveness to get your point across is not always easily done but is almost always necessary for a successful conclusion to a negotiation.
At Prowse Chowne LLP we understand these tensions, what it takes to manage mediation and arbitration processes and how to best serve the interests of our clients – whether as neutral mediators or arbitrators or counsel for clients in mediation or arbitration – We can help.