As an initial matter, the mediator will engage in a discussion with the parties to determine whether mediation is a viable option to resolve their particular dispute.  The mediator will consider the history of the dispute and the parties’ relationship, the type of dispute, the underlying facts and issues, and other factors.


The purpose of intake is to allow the mediator and the parties to prepare for a productive mediation session.  If the mediator and the parties agree to go forward with mediation, the mediator will gather more information about the dispute in advance of the mediation session.

This will include discussion and review of any relevant documents, reports, photographs and the like, any previous settlement negotiations or offers to settle, the status of any court proceedings (upcoming hearing or trial dates, etc.).  Intake will also be used to determine whether any of the parties have special needs or require special accommodations in order to fully participate in the mediation session.

Opening Statement/Orientation:

Opening statement, or orientation, occurs at the beginning of the mediation session.  It allows the mediator to set the agenda for the session, to explain the mediation process, and to answer any questions that the parties may have.  The mediator will also confirm that each participant has legal authority to enter into a binding agreement.  After the mediator’s opening statement, each party will be encouraged to present their own opening statement where they can explain their side of the dispute.  Each party will also be encouraged to share their opinions about what it will take to end the dispute.

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