Nigel Wright, Esq., on What to Expect from a Mediation

Uncertainty is never a pleasant feeling, and while it seems to be the name of the game for the past year, that doesn’t have to apply to the mediation process. A lot goes into a mediation, and it can be a challenge to know what to expect. Miles Mediator Nigel Wright aims to demystify mediations, giving an overview of the process along with tips for getting the best outcome from a mediation. As this year has also seen the rise of the remote school, work, and yes, even mediations, Wright also has a couple tips for conducting mediations remotely.

There are a lot of misconceptions of mediations, and Wright begins by laying out the basics of an American mediation:

  • The Parties: He defines mediation as “a five-party discussion,” usually consisting of: the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, and the mediator. On occasion, this group may also include the defendant’s attorney. Each person comes to the mediation with their own agenda and preconceptions, and being aware of and attempting to understand those mindsets can give insight into defusing what can be a tense atmosphere.
  • Preparation: According to Wright, there are many things to do to facilitate a mediation. First and foremost, Wright says that going in prepared is possibly the most important element to a successful mediation. He recommends a pre-mediation conference with the mediator, having graphics and exhibits, and trying to argue the case from the other perspective to see flaws in your own argument.
  • The Mediation: Wright stresses the importance of having an open mind and carefully listening to the other side. Being alert and attentive to the words as well as the body language of the other members of the mediation can give insight into where they’re coming from, which, in turn, helps facilitate a faster and easier resolution. Wright also cites creativity as an important element: looking at an issue to find outside-the-box solutions can be the answer to a satisfactory resolution for all parties. On a more concrete note, Wright also suggests making sure the mediation space is comfortable. Wright recommends taking frequent breaks, especially with online mediations, where staring at a screen can prove exhausting.
  • The Online Mediation: Online mediations have advantages, such as flexibility of schedule and no commute time, but they have drawbacks as well, foremost among them the difficulty of reading the attitude of other people on a computer screen. Small mannerisms are often exaggerated over a video conference and can result in miscommunications. He recommends being aware of these problems and gives a few other practical tips: test video and audio beforehand, make sure your lighting is good and is behind you, and have a back-up plan if you have connectivity problems.

Mediation isn’t a process as well-known as court-room proceedings, but its popularity is only growing. Nigel Wrights’ webinar on what to expect from a mediation could be the information needed to get a favorable outcome for your clients.

Wright’s full webinar is available on the Miles Mediation and Arbitration website, here: https://www.milesmediation.com/webinar-what-insurers-need-to-know-before-they-mediate/. If you have questions concerning mediations, contact Nigel Wright at nwright@milesmediation.com. If you want to schedule a mediation, email ajensen@milesmediation.com, or call (470) 545-9410.

ABOUT NIGEL WRIGHT

As a mediator and arbitrator at Miles, Nigel Wright handles extensive personal injury claims in disputes in over 50 countries and complex claims (including class actions) for A&H, Aviation, Casualty, Commercial Property, Construction defect, Crisis Management, Cybersecurity, D&O, E&O, Energy and Marine, Environmental, Financial Lines, Insurance coverage, IP, Pharma, Product defect, Professional Liability, Political Risk, and Surety.