Mediation is a process where the parties in dispute meet with a mutually selected impartial and neutral person who assists them in the negotiation of their differences. It is a facilitated negotiation.
Mediation leaves the decision power totally and strictly with the parties. The mediator does not decide what is "fair" or "right," does not assess blame nor render an opinion on the merits or chances of success if the case were litigated. Rather, the mediator acts as a catalyst between opposing interests attempting to bring them together by defining issues and eliminating obstacles to communication, while moderating and guiding the process to avoid confrontation and ill will. The mediator will, however, seek concessions from each side during the mediation process.
Mediation generally begins with a joint session to set an agenda, define the issues and ascertain the position and/or concerns of the parties. This allows the parties to attack the resolution process either on an issue-by-issue or group-by-group basis.
The joint session is then followed by a separate caucus between the mediator and each individual party or their counsel. This allows each side to explain and enlarge upon their position and mediation goals in confidence. It also gives the mediator an opportunity to ask questions which may well serve to create doubt in an advocate's mind over the validity of a particular position.
JAMS neutrals are on the case long before the day of mediation and don't consider their job done until settlement is achieved. They are dedicated to the entire mediation process, from reading the written statements to final execution of the settlement agreement.
Pre-mediation calls—JAMS mediators often provide parties the opportunity for pre-mediation calls in order to discuss:
During the mediation session—Using their extraordinary interpersonal skills, JAMS mediators listen closely to all perspectives, quickly evaluate party dynamics and establish rapport, leaving ample time for them to focus on:
Post-mediation—In the event that all issues are not resolved during the mediation session, JAMS mediators are tenacious and follow up in an effort to keep parties engaged in the process and focused on resolution. They will persist until the case settles or every conceivable option has been exhausted.