The mediation process involves a collaborative conversation in a safe space where participants may resolve their dispute on their own terms.  The neutral mediator through a facilitative mediation process of inclusion assists participants in an in-depth, person-centered, confidential discussion of their concerns.  The mediator encourages participants to say all they want and need to say that reflects their needs and interests.  

After accepting a case for mediation, usually through an informal contact by telephone or electronic means, some preliminary information is obtained about the conflict.  We discuss with each participant, the mediation process, mediator confidentiality, the agreement to mediate and the fee arrangement.

In general, the confidential mediation procedure follows a relatively straightforward agenda toward collaboratively reaching the goal of common understanding - common ground - about what led to the conflict.  The conversation then turns to generating ideas about resolution of the dispute that meet the interests and needs of the participants.

Mediation Steps:

Explanation of Mediation

  • The mediation session begins with introductions, review and explanation of the steps in the mediation process. 

Information Gathering

  • Participants next express their understanding of the circumstances underlying the conflict.  Each participant has ample time to express the concerns that have brought them together to have the conversation. 

Interests - Needs

  • The participants fully express their interests and needs on all subjects they would like to address.  The conversation generally leads to an expression of their feelings and values as well.  This may take some time and involve several rounds of  discussion among the participants in order to fully develop the underlying narrative of their stories.

Creative Ideas - Possible Solutions

  • The mediation next turns to creative problem solving - brainstorming - to develop a plan for the future that meets the interests and needs of each participant about each topic, subject or theme they have lifted up.  At this point, the participants fully express their creative ideas, any ideas they have, even ones on which they might not agree.  They may consider raising ideas on how they could bridge the crevasse between them to find common ground for agreement. 
  • The mediator neutral guides the participants through consideration and development of all ideas expressed and keeps track of ideas on which participants may agree and those on which participants need to do further work. 
  • Once the participants have developed fully all ideas and may have reached agreements on a subject or topic, the mediator assists the participants in fine tuning their ideas until all matters are fully agreed to in detail on a topic.  The mediator and participants then move to the next topic for resolution.

The Agreement

  • The final mediation step includes any necessary clarifications or adjustments of agreed ideas and development of a written memorandum on which the participants may agree and sign.


Arbitration provides a quasijudicial-private litigation process where the participants fully present factual evidence and argument to the selected arbitrator in a semi-formal environment.   The arbitrator uses the normal rules of evidence as guidelines only for consideration of the facts brought forth by the participants.  The arbitration procedure includes the opportunity for participants as part of their overall case to present pre-hearing or post hearing briefs of the facts and the legal issues.  The arbitrator hears the evidence, considers the legal arguments based on the facts presented, and issues an award-decision.



What We Do

Edward Ketchen