JSH Reporter Summer 2014 - Page 24

MEDIATIONARTICLE 024 WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR MEDIATION SUCCESS? IT IS AS SIMPLE AS PICKING THE RIGHT PAIR OF SHOES AUTHOR: Mark Zukowski EMAIL: mzukowski@jshfirm.com BIO: jshfirm.com/markdzukowski What does getting better mediation results have to do with picking the right pair of shoes? Let me explain. If you have practiced long enough, you probably have a go-to mediator. Why? Because like your favorite pair of shoes, it feels comfortable. But, I’m sure you own more than one pair of shoes because your favorite pair isn’t the right fit for every outfit you wear. Likewise, your go-to mediator may not be the best choice for every case you mediate. I’ll bet even your go-to mediator has failed to settle all of your cases. Why? Because he or she probably wasn’t the best fit for the cases that didn’t settle. Every case is a little different, just like every outfit in your closet is different. The next time you want to mediate a case, I suggest that you take the time to think about the case before automatically relying on your go-to mediator. For example, if you are completely comfortable with your case evaluation, do you really want your go-to mediator, who may be a seasoned attorney, telling you what he or she would settle the case for? On the other hand, if the reason the case has not settled is that you believe the opposing party has unreasonable settlement expectations, maybe a former judge is a better choice to mediate your case. Does your case involve an issue requiring specialized knowledge? If so, maybe a mediator familiar with the issue would be a better choice for your case Like the shoes in your closet, there are many choices for mediators who can each offer you something a little different. So the next time you mediate a case, my advice is to do a little shopping for your mediator, just like you shop for shoes, so you get the best fit. Assess the issues and parties involved in your case, talk to your client and other lawyers and, by all means, talk to several prospective mediators about your case. If you do, I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see your success in mediation improve. You may also find a new favorite pair of shoes or find that you have more than one favorite pair of shoes when it comes to selecting a future mediator. ABOUT THE AUTHOR MARK ZUKOWSKI Mark Zukowski has more than 30 years of experience working in alternative dispute resolution and currently serves as a commercial and construction arbitrator and mediator for the American Arbitration Association. He has also served as a Judge Pro Tem for both the Maricopa County Superior Court and the Arizona Court of Appeals. He is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. Contact Mark at 602.263.1759 or mzukowski@jshfirm.com.