"Mediation is successful over 85% of the time -- think about THAT! That means it is fair to expect that your mediation will produce a resolution of your conflict, a settlement of your dispute. Usually in less than a day. LESS THAN A DAY!
Mediation is a fast and effective dispute resolution process. At the end of the day you'll have an enforceable, signed, agreement setting out all of the terms of the settlement. THAT'S MEDIATION. There's no comparison to litigation -- that's why I do what I do!" --Tom Ford, Certified Mediator
What to Expect the Day of Your Mediation
Before the date of your Mediation Session, your Mediator will have had at least one and perhaps more conversations with counsel of represented parties, or directly with the participating parties. Those conversations and other materials typically provided in advance of the Mediation session should give you an idea of what to expect.
Please PLAN on spending the entire day at the Mediation. While they frequently do not take an entire day, it is certainly not unusual for a Session to continue until as late as 6:30 or 7pm.
The Mediation will typically begin in a Joint Session of all participants, with everyone involved having an opportunity to introduce themselves and talk about their perspectives on the conflicts which they would like to resolve. In most cases the Mediation discussions will continue without extended breaks (meals will be brought in if the session goes through mealtimes -- let your Mediator know of any dietary requirements or preferences).
At various points during the discussion, the Mediator may decide to meet privately with one or another party. Any participant may also request a private session at any time, for any reason. These private sessions may continue, with the Mediator moving back and forth between the private meeting areas of the parties, or additional joint sessions may occur -- it all depends on the needs of the discussions and the preferences of the participants.
When a resolution is reached, there is a relatively standard form of Settlement Agreement which is usually prepared. In more complex matters it may be preferable to prepare a Memorandum of Settlement. Both forms are enforced by the Courts as valid settlement agreements and will be signed by all of the participants -- including counsel, if any.