Tips for Managing the "Mega-Mediation" - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 67, No. 4
David R. Carlisle is a Partner in the law firm of Duane Morris LLP and a 1984 graduate of the University of Miami School of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar. Mr. Carlisle concentrates his practice on dispute resolution and mediation in probate, trust and guardianship matters. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and a member of the Executive Council of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar and Vice Chair of its Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee.
Bruce A. Blitman is a longtime Mediator and Attorney with a solo practice near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1982. He is a Florida Supreme Court certified Circuit Civil, County and Family Mediator. Since 1989, Mr. Blitman has mediated thousands of disputes throughout Florida and has written and lectured extensively about the benefits of mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
There is no such thing as a simple or typical mediation. Every case you mediate will present unique challenges since the personalities and negotiating styles of the parties, their counsel and other participants in the process and the attendant interpersonal dynamics, will be different. Just like snowflakes and fingerprints, no two mediations, whether involving personal injury, probate, commercial or malpractice disputes, will be the same. This is what makes each mediation fun, interesting and challenging.
A mega-mediation can be a dispute with many complex facts and/or issues, a dispute involving a huge amount of money, or a dispute involving multiple parties. What should be recognized is that everything that is true of a two-party mediation is also true of a mega mediation. In other words, a mega-mediation is a small mediation multiplied many times over. Thus, for example, if there are more parties, there will be more attorneys, more personalities, more opinions and possibly more obstacles to settlement. Motivating the parties to negotiate and agree on terms of a mutually acceptable settlement in a two-party dispute can be an arduous process under the best of circumstances. Imagine how much more challenging it is to accomplish the same goal in the mega case.