Mediation Tip: Allowing time to "process the process."
My last couple posts emphasized the importance of settling at the mediation. This post acknowledges instances where a party is better served by having more time to decide. Mediators strive to get cases settled, that's what they are hired to do. Lawyers strive to get their cases settled- that's why they (or most of them) come to mediation. The parties come to mediation expecting to get their cases settled. With all that motivation, everyone is driven to reach a settlement that day, and no one really wants to leave without a signed deal. However, sometimes what is really needed is time - time to think, feel, process and consider all that was learned during the mediation. Parties may be able to help the other side to resolve at the mediation. For example, if a plaintiff gives a realistic demand (with room for their goal negotiations) for a defendant lacking experience in the back-and-forth process; or if a defendant signals an understanding of plaintiff's feelings despite the difference of opinions on the case-then the parties may feel better about the "process" and can navigate it easier. But there will be instances where someone needs time to absorb everything before coming up with a response or decision. Delay always carries the risk that either or both parties may backtrack from where they were, but, if someone is more deliberative in their actions, or is overwhelmed and frozen, isn't it worthwhile for everyone to have the needed time to fully evaluate? Maybe not the perfect route but it could be the best, or only route for that case.