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Ronald F. Negin of Henning Mediation & Arbitration Service. (Courtesy photo) Ronald F. Negin of Henning Mediation & Arbitration Service. (Courtesy photo)

There are many important aspects to a successful mediation, from preparing your client’s expectations to knowing the relevant and important facts of the case. There are many different aspects that facilitate an effective mediation. However, perhaps the most important part of a mediation is the opening session, where the plaintiffs and defendants meet jointly with the mediator. The opening session can set the tone for the day either in a positive or negative fashion. An informative and productive opening session can set the groundwork for both the lawyers and the mediators to have a productive day resulting in the resolution of the case. On the other hand, an ineffective or contentious opening session can essentially end any hopes of settling the case before the mediation ever begins. While there are many different styles and strategies in an opening session, several patterns have evolved over the course of years in analyzing and evaluating successful mediations.

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