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  • Writer's pictureAssistant Sims Purzer

Top 10 Mediation Mistakes to Avoid: A Comprehensive Guide

Mediation is a popular and effective means of resolving disputes, but it is not without its challenges. Attorneys and their clients often make mistakes that can hinder the mediation process, reducing the chances of reaching a satisfactory resolution. This comprehensive guide will examine the ten most common mediation mistakes, discuss their implications, and offer practical advice on how to avoid them. By learning from these mistakes, you can significantly improve your mediation experience and increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome.

1. Not Bringing Decision Makers to the Mediation Session

One of the most critical factors for a successful mediation is the presence of decision makers. Ensure that everyone who has a say in the final outcome is present, including spouses or other influential parties. If someone cannot attend in person, arrange for them to join via telephone and have backup contact information readily available.

2. Neglecting to Discuss Settlement Expectations Before Mediation

The beginning of the mediation session is not the time for a client to first hear about the potential value of their case. To set appropriate expectations, discuss the likely settlement range and case value well in advance of the mediation. This will help both you and your client approach the mediation with a realistic mindset and be more open to negotiation.

3. Retreating from Previous Offers or Demands

It is crucial to maintain consistency in your negotiation positions. If you have made a demand or offer before the mediation, do not backtrack from it during the mediation process. If new information emerges that affects the case value, make sure to disclose and discuss it with the other side before the mediation begins.

4. Surprising the Other Party with New Information

Introducing new damages or special considerations during the mediation session is counterproductive, particularly when dealing with insurance companies. It is essential to understand and work with the reserving process and share relevant information ahead of time, allowing the other side to adjust their expectations accordingly.

5. Withholding Crucial Information

Since most cases settle without going to trial, it is not strategic to withhold critical information that could assist in obtaining a better settlement for your client during mediation. Be transparent and provide all pertinent facts and evidence to strengthen your client's position and facilitate a fair and reasonable resolution.

6. Engaging in Personal Attacks

Resorting to personal attacks against the opposing party or their counsel will not result in a better outcome for your client. Instead, focus on persuasive arguments backed by facts and evidence to negotiate a favorable resolution.

7. Refusing to Budge

Negotiations can quickly stall if one side refuses to make concessions or demands unreasonable moves from the other party. To maintain momentum in the negotiation process, respect the principle of reciprocity and be prepared to make reasonable adjustments in your position.

8. Overlooking Liens and Third-Party Interests

Addressing liens and third-party interests should not be left for the mediation session. Contact lienholders well in advance, negotiate terms, and make sure to have a reliable method to reach decision-makers during the mediation. For large lienholders, consider inviting them to the mediation, and if Medicare is involved, secure a recent conditional payment letter.

9. Failing to Adequately Prepare

Thorough preparation is essential for a successful mediation. Familiarize yourself with the case file, develop a well-informed negotiation strategy, and enter the mediation session ready to advocate for your client effectively.

10. Giving Up Too Soon

Even seemingly insurmountable disputes can be resolved through mediation. A wide negotiating gap or a temporary impasse should not discourage you from continuing the mediation process. Patience, persistence, and collaboration with the mediator are crucial in working toward a resolution.


Avoiding these ten common mediation mistakes can significantly enhance your mediation experience and increase the likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome for all parties involved. By being well-prepared, engaging in open communication, and maintaining a respectful and patient approach, you can navigate the challenges of mediation and facilitate a productive negotiation process.

I highly recommend visiting my website at for additional resources, guidance, and support in making your mediation experience as smooth and effective as possible. My website offers valuable insights, tips, and tools that can further assist you in avoiding common pitfalls and maximizing the potential for successful outcomes.

Embrace the unique opportunities that mediation offers to resolve family law disputes efficiently and effectively, while promoting long-lasting and amicable relationships between the parties involved. With careful planning and a commitment to avoiding these pitfalls, as well as utilizing the resources provided on my website, you can pave the way for successful mediations that result in mutually beneficial solutions for all parties involved.

Don't wait any longer. Begin your journey towards a better resolution with Atty. Sonja Sims today.

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