Almost every mediation has both joint sessions attended by all principals and counsel as well as separate breakout sessions for single-party conferences. The joint session is intended to bring the parties together for a full exploration of claims and defenses to a dispute. In addition, a principal who feels unheard can speak out directly to another principal or principal’s counsel. A joint session also presents the opportunity for counsel to speak directly to an opposing principal about an intended trial strategy, the expense of litigation or any issue counsel believes the principal may not fully comprehend. Open communications between the parties and counsel facilitate the flow of information and may foster a conciliatory relationship, which can be helpful in reaching dispute resolution and possibly even a future business relationship.

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