Submit a Case Submit Case Find a Neutral Search Neutral

Why Mediations Fail

Publication Banner

Why Mediations Fail

Source: Texas Lawyer
Date: March 24, 2017
For years, I have had an anecdotal sense of why media- tions fail but no data to sup- port it. so, between october 2014 and March 2016, I polled 249 mediators from across the United states with a wide range of experience for the top three reasons they believe mediations fail. The responses, listed in reverse order of popularity, fit into thir - teen categories. 13. Third-Party Interference (9 responses). Interfering third- parties, well-meaning or not, frequently hamper, rather than facilitate, negotiations. 12. Money (15 responses). Understandably, money is fre- quently the reason for a failed mediation – whether it is the lack of settlement funds, insol- vency or simply the sad state of the economy. 11. Prefers Court (22 responses). oftentimes, parties feel they have a story to tell and would rather tell it to a judge in a court of law. 10. other (23 responses). There are actually many reasons why mediation might fail: people become ill at the last minute; attorneys determine that their clients lack mental capacity; or attorneys discover there are ille- gal activities in play. 9. Communication (30 responses). Miscommunication, whether in the form of bad negotiation techniques or the misrepresentation of facts and withheld information, is often the culprit of a failed mediation. 8. authority to settle (49 responses). It is essential that | Friday, March 24, 2017 w By CeCilia H. Morgan Why Mediations Faileach party has someone physi- cally present at the mediation with authority to negotiate and settle. 7. Mediation Process (52 responses). The mediation pro- cess, while malleable, must still flow within strategic param- eters. If the timing of the order or the decision to mediate is too late or too early, negotiation might lose its tactical advan- tage. 6. Mediator (54 responses). sadly, it was reported that too often, the mediator was the rea- son for the failed attempt. The mediator should possess the appropriate skills and be an effective negotiator with knowl- edge of and experience with the process. 5. Bad Faith (66 responses). There will always be those who attend mediation in bad faith, refusing to cooperate with no intention to settle. 4. Lawyers (81 responses). Unfortunately, the survey indi- cates that lawyers undermine settlements at mediation. some have a hidden agenda at media- tion, and progress towards set- tlement is secondary. 3. Unrealistic expectation (86 responses). Many par- ties and their attorneys enter negotiations at mediation with unrealistic expectations about the process and/or its outcome, the money involved and the risks involved. Mediation is not a panacea; there should be give and take by all parties. 2. Lack of Preparation (91 responses). The client should be made aware of what to expect from the process and the attor- neys should be up-to-date on all applicable laws and have more than a passing familiarity with their client’s case as well as what the client hopes to achieve by mediating. The mediator should have familiarity with the facts of the case and whatever other information can be gleaned from pre-mediation communi- cation with the attorneys. 1. emotions/ego (106 responses). Finally, the number one answer to why mediations fail was emotions! We all have them and should be able to master them for the few hours it takes to mediate a dispute. Whether it’s hate, anger, pride, vindictiveness, anxiety mas- querading as impatience, fear or vengeance, emotions dam up the essential flow of communi- cation and obstruct progress. There are positive steps you can take to facilitate the mediation process. First, prop- erly time the mediation to gain the greatest strategic advantage. second, prepare and communicate in advance. Third, recognize any unrealistic expectations and temper them accordingly. Fourth, identify and confront bad faith. Finally, embrace emotions – your own and those of your counterpart – and understand how they will impact the  successful outcome of mediation. Cecilia H. Morgan, Esq. has conducted more than 2,200 ses- sions of civil cases and arbitrated more than 900 cases throughout Texas and 31 other states. She has more than 38 years of experience as an attorney and ADR professional and is a respected member of the JAMS employment, energy, health care, and financial services prac- tice groups. She may be reached at Reprinted with permission from the March 24, 2017 edition of the Texas La wyeR © 2017 aLM Media Properties, LLC. all rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. For information, contact 877-257-3382 or # 651-04-17-01 w

JAMS Neutrals

Practice Areas