Why mediations fail

I was attending a continuing legal education seminar the other day entitled, “Domestic Mediation: Who, What, Where, When, Why?,” presented by a local attorney master mediator whom I really respect.  One of the topics covered was the question, “Why Mediations Fail?”  Here are the points that were made:

  • The parties are not yet ready to mediate and the mediation is held prematurely.  (One way to overcome this failure is to set up a second session after the court hearing for temporary orders is held).
  • An attorney sets unrealistic expectations for their client.
  • The attorney wants more money in the litigation process.
  • The emotion of a party is not validated.
  • The attorney lacks experience in the field in which they are mediating.  (This often happens in domestic law cases when a party’s lawyer “friend”  is going to help the party out in their family law matter by representing them,even though the lawyer does not customarily practice family law.)
  • The wrong mediator is chosen (different styles of mediator).
  • The party is not properly prepared with information needed to have a settlement.
  • The party opens negotiations with their bottom line and is not willing to move.
  • The party is not willing to come to a settlement and is using the process just to meet the requirement to mediate.
  • The walkaway option is better than the option being proposed in mediation.

Please comment, add, refute, clarify or inquire regarding this posting if you are so inclined.  I would love for this to convert to a helpful dialogue and resource.