Preparation For Mediation

Pre-Mediation Contact

Mediation has no ex-parte rules about contact with the mediator. Ronald D. Wilton will contact each party in advance of the mediation to discuss any problems, concerns or issues that involve how the mediation will be conducted. This is also the best time to disclose any anticipated obstacles to a productive mediation session.

Briefs

Counsel are requested to provide written briefs in advance of the mediation in order to frame the disputed issues. Citation references are appreciated where the legal issues are unique or disputed. Relevant content is important; format is not, so a brief in the form of a letter is fine. Briefs are preferably emailed, although submission by facsimile, regular mail or personally delivered are also acceptable. Briefs should be received no later than the day prior to the mediation. Mr. Wilton prefers to receive the briefs sooner rather than later, if possible. At Wilton Law & Mediation, we strongly encourage, but do not require, the mutual exchange of briefs with the other parties. Please advise us whether the submitted brief or other materials are confidential. Unless otherwise advised, we will assume all submitted materials are NOT confidential.

Presentations And Exhibits

Ronald D. Wilton welcomes any and all presentations, whether in the form of video, PowerPoint, photographs, charts, ledgers, exemplars, diagrams, drawings or anything else that a party believes may be beneficial toward settlement. Sometimes, a simple medical report and invoice are sufficient. Other times, more elaborate compilations of injuries or damages would be appropriate. All we ask is to consider whether the information presented is material to resolving the claim. That standard is not the same as whether the information is admissible in court.

Attendance

Persons with authority to resolve the matter must be present at the mediation or instantly available by phone with consent of all participants. In situations where other parties may have an interest in the outcome, such as lienholders, partners or spouses, every effort should be made to include them in the process. Attendance is usually discussed during pre-mediation phone calls, and that would be the time to advise Ronald D. Wilton if any attendance by all those necessary to render a decision will not be present or available.

Anticipated Draft Settlement Agreement

It is highly recommended the parties come to the mediation with a draft settlement agreement to facilitate the final terms of the settlement. By doing so, the participants frequently become aware of ancillary issues that are critical to an acceptable resolution. If, for example, confidentiality, timing or characterization of monies paid are important considerations for a settling party, these factors should be discussed during the session rather than wait until the drafting of the settlement agreement. This pre-mediation preparation will reduce the likelihood that drafting issues will negate hours of work.

At The Mediation

Ronald D. Wilton has a reputation for maintaining a flexible mediation style, ranging from facilitative to evaluative or transformative, depending upon what seems best for the participants. He believes progress toward settlement can only be made when the participants believe their positions have been recognized, duly respected and considered. Be prepared to discuss those issues important to a final settlement.

Joint Session

Much has been made about the efficacy of a joint session. Ronald D. Wilton will sometimes forego the joint session, especially during a Lighting Mediation where all participants are experienced with the mediation process. In most situations, however, the mediation commences with a Joint Session attended by all participants. This is particularly helpful where the parties have not previously met each other. During the Joint Session, Ronald D. Wilton will review the mediation procedures and allow the parties to make whatever statements they feel would help to advance the ultimate goal of resolving the disputes. Mr. Wilton is fully aware that for some individuals new to mediation, the initial Joint Session is very stressful and therefore, may be postponed. If this is an issue, it should be discussed during the pre-mediation call.

Separate Caucuses

In almost every mediation, Ronald D. Wilton will meet privately with each party and his or her attorney. These meetings are confidential, so the participants are encouraged to freely discuss information related to their position. There will be no court reporters, listening devices or other means of recording the conversations and, most importantly, nothing said during the mediation can be unwillingly disclosed in court. This is the best opportunity to disclose information unknown to the other side, and presents an equally excellent opportunity to reveal strengths and weaknesses of the case. Nothing discussed or revealed during the separate caucuses will be disclosed to the other side, unless Ronald D. Wilton is authorized to do so.

There may also be situations where, in Mr. Wilton's opinion, attorneys should meet without clients, or the parties should separately meet, or any other combination of discussion and communication. Mediation does not have to be structured, as in trial, so whatever it may take to bring the parties together should be tried.

Final Joint Session

If the matter appears to be settled, the parties generally meet again to discuss the specific terms of the settlement agreement. Wilton Law & Mediation has computers and forms available to help draft an agreement that the parties can sign before leaving the office.

Post-Mediation Follow-Up

For some mediations where a settlement was not reached during the session, an agreement may still be possible. Ronald D. Wilton will communicate with the parties after the session to ascertain if anything else can be done to assist, including phone calls, emails and, if appropriate, another session.

Satisfaction Survey

At Wilton Law & Mediation, we work hard to reach our goal of helping the parties resolve disputes. We also understand the best way to improve our services is to listen and consider feedback from the participants.

Therefore, at the conclusion of the mediation session, we ask each party to take probably one minute to complete our online survey. All comments and opinions will be kept confidential unless you specifically permit us to use your comment as a testimonial.

To reserve a date for mediation, call 818-906-3500 or contact us and we will promptly assist you.

Office Accommodations

Wilton Law & Mediation is located at:

16055 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 811

Encino, CA 91436

For map and directions, click here.

  • Parking is complimentary.
  • Free Wi-Fi, printing, telephone, word processing and copying.
  • Free coffee, cold drinks, and snacks for all mediations. Lunch is provided for Standard Mediation (Full Day).