Chuck’s mediation approach is part facilitative and part evaluative. Typically, he is chosen because of his subject matter expertise in employment law matters, especially on wage-hour or discrimination issues. His approach is to listen carefully to the parties to help them to establish what is a possible mutually acceptable settlement – not how he thinks the matter should settle.
1. Initial Contact and Conflicts Check – Inquiries can be made directly to STOHLER ADR PLLC, to Chuck directly or through the website. Chuck’s availability is listed on the website as well as through the National Academy of Distinguished Neutral (NADN) website. NADN.org. Conflicts are checked before any assignment is accepted.
2. Premediation Conference – As necessary, Chuck schedules and holds a premediation conference to establish the details and process for the case. Sometimes this call is done on Zoom. Many times the Mediation can be confirmed without a call. The call outlines the process and when premediation statements will be due. Chuck believes that the Mediation process begins when he is hired and welcomes the parties to contact him to discuss any relevant matters or issues that will help the parties reach a resolution. Ex-parte calls happen in most cases and are encouraged.
3. Engagement Letter – Following the premediation conference, or after the parties have agreed on the date and arrangements, STOHLER ADR PLLC will send an engagement letter outlining the terms and details for a successful Mediation. The letter will include the Mediation fees and expenses. Typically, the parties are required to pay a Retainer due before the day of the Mediation. Chuck charges by the hour for travel time and will charge for expenses such as mileage and overnight accommodations, which are billed at cost. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SAMPLE MEDIATION ENGAGEMENT LETTER
4. Premediation Statements – The parties are requested to submit premediation statements one week in advance of the Mediation. It is important for Chuck to receive the statements by the weekend before because that is when he prepares for the following week’s Mediations. The premediation statements should include:
a. Factual Background
b. Key Pleadings and Documents
d. Summary of the Relevant Law
e. Potential Damages
f. Current Settlement Positions
g. Obstacles to Settlement
h. Participants at the Mediation
5. Mediation Process – Usually the day of the Mediation begins with the parties and their counsel meeting as a group to discuss the plan for the day, the ground rules, confidentiality and case specific information. Typically, Chuck prefers not to have opening statements, but will do so based on the particular case and what was provided in the premediation statements. Chuck then shuttles back and forth between the parties and convenes a group session or meets privately with the lawyers as necessary. If an agreement is reached, the parties prepare a written term sheet of agreement before adjournment.
The parties can structure the mediation process as they see fit, but they hire Chuck to direct or guide them. Chuck uses a variety of techniques to avoid impasse and to bring the parties to an agreement. He will take strong positions as necessary. Each mediation is different, and a key part of the Mediator’s role is to determine the best approach for each case. Only at the parties’ request does Chuck set a “Mediator’s” number or bracket under very specific terms.
Counsel must have the appropriate personnel available with the authority to settle. When the parties are not serious, or the timing is wrong for a settlement, the Mediation will be terminated. Chuck is a strong believer in the “process,” and most cases settle, sometimes shortly after the mediation.
Chuck regularly follows up on cases after the day of the Mediation, including scheduling subsequent days as necessary. Large multi-state matters often require more than one day of Mediation, depending on the state of the litigation and deadlines.