Approach

Mr. Paul provides all mediation participants with a comfortable and supportive environment, allowing the mediation process to enable each party to make informed, intelligent decisions about how their dispute can be resolved. Mr. Paul’s approach is predicated on being straightforward, adaptive, building and maintaining trust and rapport, and respecting the decisions of counsel and their clients. Mr. Paul is generally evaluative in analyzing the merits of a dispute, also using facilitative techniques as appropriate. While open and direct, Steve is also empathetic to the needs of each party and acquires a deeper understanding of the specific interests, relationships and motivations.

Initiating Mediation

Mr. Paul’s availability for scheduling a mediation session can be obtained by email inquiry or telephone. Mediation dates are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Mr. Paul will try to schedule mediation on short notice whenever possible, and can be flexible as to location or travel depending on the needs of the parties. Before scheduling, please feel free to call the office to discuss whether a particular case is appropriate for mediation or if you would like assistance with bringing the other party to the table.

Mediation Briefs

As part of Mr. Paul’s preparation, mediation briefs are required to assist in gaining an understanding of the factual/legal background of the dispute and positions of the parties.  Mediation briefs should be submitted at least five (5) days prior to the mediation, and include:

  • A summary of the material facts giving rise to the dispute.
  • The legal claims asserted, including cited authority.
  • Deposition testimony.
  • Key exhibits, witness statements, and/or expert witness reports.
  • The procedural status and posture of the case.
  • An analysis of damages.
  • Prior settlement discussions.
  • Any other information believed to be helpful to facilitate resolution.

Pre-mediation Conference

A few days before the mediation, Mr. Paul will attempt to separately speak with each party’s counsel in order to further prepare for a productive and efficient mediation. This is the time to discuss:

  • Relationships between the parties, expectations, and any underlying interests.
  • Potential impediments to settlement.
  • Opportunities to resolve or make progress regarding any additional disputes between the parties or in the litigation.
  • What, if anything, needs to occur for the parties to be fully prepared to reach resolution at the mediation session (e.g. document exchanges, expert reports).
  • Confirmation of all necessary decision-makers at the mediation, as well as any other participants.
  • The status of any insurance coverage and participation of the carrier.
  • The logistics of the mediation, including ensuring that all parties understand and are comfortable with the process.

While not required, Mr. Paul encourages the parties to exchange the mediation brief and/or other relevant information in advance.  This will assist all parties in formulating expectations to make realistic, informed settlement decisions during the mediation. The parties may also provide Mr. Paul with confidential information in letter format separate and apart from the brief.  In addition to briefs, please bring any relevant documents to the mediation that will help illustrate the facts of the case or assess damages.

Attendance

As a successful mediation necessarily involves the presence and participation of all decision-makers and involved parties, the appropriate individuals are required to attend the mediation.  In limited circumstances, certain individuals may be available by phone at all times with advance approval.

Confidentiality

With limited exceptions, all statements made in the course of the mediation process are treated as confidential settlement discussions (California Evidence Code Sections 1115 to 1128).  Statements made and information disclosed to the mediator are confidential and disclosure cannot be compelled (California Evidence Code Section 703.5). At the outset of the mediation session, each participant will be asked to review and sign Mr. Paul’s standard Agreement to Mediate and Confidentiality Agreement (download attached below).

mediation-confidentialityagreement

At The Mediation

Mr. Paul begins the mediation by providing parties separate rooms. Private introductory discussions take place in which those unfamiliar with the process are introduced to mediation.  Mr. Paul does not typically begin with joint sessions in which all parties are brought together, however, he may encourage dialogue during mediation either among counsel, or among some or all of the participants involved.  Mr. Paul will tailor and adapt each mediation based on what is most effective, typically included the following to varying degrees: listening to each party in private caucus to understand their position, interests and goals; evaluating and analyzing disputed factual and legal issues; and then facilitating negotiation between the parties to achieve a final and satisfactory resolution.

At Mr. Paul’s various facilities, Wi-Fi access and refreshments are provided, and lunch is provided during full-day mediations.

Counsel are highly encouraged to bring, or provide in advance, long-form settlement agreements (in electronic format for ease of editing) to facilitate finalizing a complete and durable settlement agreement promptly upon resolution. In the event that a dispute does not resolve at the mediation session, Mr. Paul will engage in consistent follow-up with the parties as necessary until a resolution is reached.