What are the most important keys to a successful mediation?

CLM members and fellows share their advice on what works and what doesn't.

July 10, 2019 Photo

"What are the most important keys to a successful mediation?"

“Going in, it’s critical to have an in-depth understanding and quantification of the key variables that will drive the exposure analysis. What are they? Are they known? If not, what is necessary to make them known? Once in mediation, be prepared to have some measure of flexibility as new information and perspectives become available.”

Dion Cominos, Managing Partner, Gordon & Rees LLP. CLM Member since 2013.

“Advance preparation and a positive mindset by counsel and clients—along with a willingness to do the necessary work—are keys to a successful mediation day, whether settlement happens that day or not. Mediation day is very important for the parties and needs to be approached as such.”

Jean M. Lawler, Mediator and Arbitrator, Lawler ADR Services LLC. CLM Member since 2011.

“Each party should come prepared with a realistic evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses, and settlement range of their cases. Be prepared to listen to and consider opposing positions, and carefully select the appropriate mediator for the type and severity of the case.”

William J. Wright, Consultant, Ringler Associates. CLM Fellow since 2009.

“Preparation is key to successful mediations. Steps include identifying and asserting primary leverage (motion, discovery, expert, etc.); developing a negotiation plan, target, and theme; designing for case needs (mediator fit, one-way joint session); a mediator pre-mediation call; anticipating and planning for newly disclosed information; and draft agreements.”

Kelly Hopper Moore, Claims Manager, State of Oregon. CLM Fellow since 2010.

“Go beyond a surface-level understanding of the loss. Know the injury, social media/economic background, and the impacts on the claimant’s quality of life. Make decisive and calculated financial decisions that include factors such as resolution value and future cost of defense to reach a superior outcome.”

Bert Dizon, Senior Account Manager, Gallagher Bassett Services Inc. CLM Fellow since 2016.


Number of months of litigation avoided for the Department of Justice in 2017 through the use of alternative dispute resolution.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice


Turnaround time, in days, for securities cases in mediation from January to April 2019.

Source: FINRA

About The Authors
Phil Gusman

Phil Gusman is CLM's director of content.  phil.gusman@theclm.org

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