5 Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Mediation

Originally published in December 2020. Last updated January 2024.

I’d like to offer five tips that could pay off for you and/or your client in mediation.

1. Preparation Is Key. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Advance work preparing your client for what to expect at mediation and using your memo and productions to lay the necessary groundwork to resolve the file can pay dividends.

2. Be Strategic With Your Opening. Decide if an opening statement will help or hurt your objectives. If you choose to make one, be concise, set a positive tone for resolution, highlight your strengths and acknowledge and address any perceived challenges before the other side can.

3. First Offers/Counter Offers. These numbers set the tone for the mediation. Being aggressive is an option, but not if your number is perceived to be detached from reality.

4. Use Your Mediator. They are your barometer for how others are feeling about negotiations. Use questions to the mediator to get a sense of what’s going on in the other room(s), to uncover another party’s positions and interests and to identify appealing arguments.

5. Get Real. Be objective when assessing the file and/or seek objective input. A thoughtful mediator’s take on the merits of your case can help to identify a viable settlement range. Don’t push the process; it is good to keep in mind that while sometimes things don’t settle at mediation, the mediation usually helps move the case towards a resolution.

No two mediations are exactly alike. The people, personalities and issues involved often dictate your strategy and approach. But keeping these five tips in mind can increase your odds of having a productive mediation and resolving the case.


Marshall Schnapp, Toronto / GTA Mediator

Marshall Schnapp, BA, JD, LLM (ADR) has been resolving disputes for over 10 years as a mediator and has extensive experience in adjudication as well. Clients consistently recommend Marshall for his upbeat, tenacious attitude, and the skills he has honed helping resolve thousands of matters.

Get in touch with Marshall by email at marshall@schnappmediation.com or by telephone (647) 250-7216 today to set up a consultation, and see why he is the right mediator for your next file. For booking availability, please visit https://schnappmediation.com/calendar-2/ or contact Lacey Day at admin@schnappmediation.com or (647) 250-7216.