Lawyer Monthly - August 2022

even though there were a lot of potential deals to be made that would have made the parties better off. This is where a mediator can really help – by improving the communication between the parties, learning what their underlying interests are and helping them articulate them in a way that helps them avoid the risks of exploitation but creates more information. What is the typical process of mediation? After filing out a brief intake form, my assistant arranges individual private meetings with each party to the contract separately (the interview stage). After this initial round of interviews, I review everything provided by both sides and sometimes request further information or documents over email. Afterwards, a second round of meetings occurs where I can canvass the issues in greater detail, having the benefit of the information and inputs from the first round of interviews. After the interview stage, I spend some 57 AUG 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM THOUGHT LEADER - MARCO FRANCESCO ABRUZZI-LILLIU time developing a strategy and approach to best address the dynamics and particulars of the case. I break down the issues across a spectrum from ‘most contentious’ to ‘common ground or agreement’ and a date is booked for the first meeting together, whether virtually or in person. Generally, the phases for the in-person meeting are as follows. First is getting out each side’s experience to create a shared understanding of the whole situation. Secondly, unless this is a workplace dispute, we engage in a thorough legal analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case. This phase is done so that each side can perform a reasonable risk analysis of proceeding to court instead of settling the case early. With this in mind, we move onto the third phase: disclosure and analysis of each party’s interests. Essentially, during this phase, we try to drill down to what everyone wants and why they want it. The next phase entails joint problem-solving and negotiation to see if we can find a solution together that leaves the parties in a better position than going to court or maintaining the status quo in workplace or corporate conflict. Lastly, we document the agreement reached by the parties or adjourn to a later date. What is the most challenging part of the mediation process? This really depends on the personalities, the stakes and the history of the people involved. Sometimes the most challenging part is just getting the parties to the table for a productive meeting, other times it is working through the negative emotions enough to engage in productive dialogue and negotiations. How do you take the emotion out of the situation and keep the clients focused on an outcome? Interestingly, while people might wish to take the emotion out, the unfortunate truth is that until people really feel heard and understood in terms of their feelings Marco Francesco Abruzzi-Lilliu Accordance Dispute Resolution LLP Law Chambers Building, #204-45 Bastion Square, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada Tel: +1 250-532-3422 Tel: +1 250-532-3216 | E:

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