Mediation is a nonbinding meeting between the parties, their attorneys, and a professional neutral mediator. The latest trends in mediation do not put the parties together in the same room, and, quite frequently, the parties will not see each other at all during the mediation. Mediation is often effective because the parties have been well prepared and understand that the mediator is there to bring new ideas and opportunities to settle a dispute often in a way that cannot occur at the courthouse.

The parties and counsel will have the best result if they take the time to prepare for mediation by having a list of must-haves and negotiable items that they can talk to the mediator about. Additionally, prior to mediation providing the mediator a one‑page outline of the issues of the case is often also helpful.

It is important to remember that the mediator has no authority to force a settlement but can point out strong portions of the case and assist in facilitating a mediated settlement agreement to resolve the contested issues.