Empathy at Mediation
Saw the following on a t-shirt, “People who think they know everything are really annoying to those of us who do.” This meme, obviously meant to be funny, has strategic relevance for mediation. Very often at mediation, one party or the other is so convinced of their position that they cannot or will not hear the other side of the story (yes, there are 3 sides to every story- yours, theirs and the truth). The best attorney may not be able to convince the client that there is a possible downside but we all know there are very few certainties in litigation. The biggest problem with the client who is always right may be the lack of empathy for the other side. I was always taught to never judge someone else until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. That’s also a good starting point in client mediation prep.
Rod B. Neuman is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator Certified Mediator (also admitted in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida) and offers these observations based upon his experiences mediating cases throughout the State of Florida.