If you are going to spend six or eight hours, or even days, in settlement discussions, it’s helpful to work in as relaxed an atmosphere as possible. A little good humor and cheer can go a long way to enhancing discussions and promoting settlement.(Credit: Sebastian/stock.adobe.com) If you are going to spend six or eight hours, or even days, in settlement discussions, it’s helpful to work in as relaxed an atmosphere as possible. A little good humor and cheer can go a long way to enhancing discussions and promoting settlement. (Credit: Sebastian/stock.adobe.com)

As we all recognize, the consistent focus by the state and federal judicial systems on alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes has made mediation an essential element of the civil trial process. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to observe that with civil jury trials largely on hold for the foreseeable future, ADR is almost the only game in town for resolving disputes.

Almost eight years ago, I authored an article titled “10 Tips for a Successful Mediation,” and here we are more than 1,000 mediations and arbitrations later. I thought now would be a good time to revisit that topic based on lessons learned and trends discerned after spending countless hours with counsel, clients and corporate representatives resolving commercial, personal injury, insurance, environmental and estate disputes. These suggestions are shared against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the courts and current settlement practices.

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