Experience both as a neutral and as counsel in mediated matters has demonstrated that if the parties to a dispute value achieving a settlement sufficiently to engage the services of a mediator, settlement is possible in the overwhelming majority of cases. The job of the mediator is to discover what circumstances or considerations have been barriers to settlement and have prevented the parties from reaching a settlement without engaging a mediator and then to find effective means to address and overcome those barriers. Such barriers are often both subtle and difficult to identify and are sometimes not fully understood or appreciated by the parties or their counsel. Both careful study of the mediation submissions of the parties and discerning attention to their actions during the mediation is the key to effective mediation.
For more information on Mr. Johnson’s approach to difficult mediation and successful techniques to employ read Addressing the Real Barriers to Settlement: The Key to Effective Mediation of Business Disputes published in the Dispute Resolution Journal of the American Arbitration Association, Vol 66 No. 4 (2012).