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How To Get The Other Side To Mediate

*This is a guest blog written by Chamber Member, Wade Mitchell, of Wade Mitchell Mediation.*

Mediation – using a neutral third person to actively help the disputing parties reach a mutually agreeable resolution – is all well and good, you say, but it only works when both parties are willing to sit down with the mediator to talk.  The question is, how do you get the other side to agree to mediate?

If all sides of a dispute are represented by counsel, the answer is straightforward:  ask your lawyer to propose mediation to the other parties.  Your attorney can have a frank discussion with the opposing lawyers to determine if mediation is possible.  If your own lawyer balks at mediation, you and your counsel need to have a heart-to-heart talk about why.

If your dispute has not yet reached the lawyer stage, you can propose mediation to the other side yourself.  Here are some steps to follow:


  1. Identify a mediator who will be right for your kind of dispute. Research mediators on line, or ask your local Bar Association if they keep a list of mediators in your area.  Call one or more potential mediators and explain to them the nature of your dispute.  Ask if they are available and qualified to help with mediation.  Get information from the potential mediators about their backgrounds, their fees, and what they would need from the parties prior to commencing the mediation.


  1. Write a polite, non-confrontational letter to the other party. Explain that you would like to try mediation because it is an efficient, low-cost, no-risk approach to settling your dispute. Do not try to persuade the other side that they should mediate or threaten to file a lawsuit if they don’t.  Tell them that you have been in contact with a potential mediator and give them the information you have about the mediator.  Explain that you have no personal connection with the mediator.  Invite them to call the mediator themselves. Ask also if the mediator can call them.

What if you get no response?  You should ask the mediator to call the other party to see if mediation is possible.  The mediator will let you know the response he or she receives.

The crux of mediation is getting both parties to the table. Letting the other side know you are ready to talk is an important first step.





For more information about mediation, contact me at wade.mitchell@wmitchellmediation.com