Mediators, much like facts, matter. As do cookies.
I recently resolved a wrongful/retaliatory discharge case through mediation. I wasn’t particularly enthralled with the idea of a mediation as only limited discovery had been completed. But my opponent said his client was genuinely interested in resolving the case early. We agreed to use Retired Judge Hollis Webster of Hollis Webster Mediations. While I been before Judge Webster when she was a DuPage County Trial Judge, I hadn’t mediated any cases with her. I came away very impressed. As soon as the parties had broken off to their respective conference rooms, Judge Webster sat down with me and asked some pointed questions – demonstrating that she had read the submissions and properly identified the difficulties with my case.
And then Judge Webster took a few minutes to introduce herself to my client. She spent a few minutes talking to the client about her family and background – and what she wanted to accomplish in the mediation. Their conversation lasted maybe 2-3 minutes at the most. But that conversation made the client feel a bit more like a participant as opposed to someone who simply hears numbers over the course of several hours. As negotiations continued Judge Webster diligently worked toward pushing the parties toward a reasonable settlement. She continually touched base with my client to make sure she fully understood the posture of the proceedings and if she had any questions. At the end of several hours the case had resolved and my client was satisfied.
Lastly, she brought cookies. And the cookies were very, very good. Gotta like an mediator who shows up with cookies.