By Steven G. Mehta

Last night I gave a seminar called 112 Ways to Succeed in Your Mediation Practice.  The program was a huge success.  The program discussed what can be done to create a better practice of mediation.  As part of the program, I gave 112 different tips on what to do both during mediation and in marketing the mediation practice.  By request, I am going to start to address some of these points in my blog.  I will endeavor to periodically provide a tip that was identified in the seminar and discuss the issues relating to the tip.  This week’s tip:

Follow Up After a Mediation

I generally recommend that regardless of the outcome of the mediation, that you should try to follow up with the parties (or their attorneys) after the mediation.  As a matter of practice, I always send a letter to the parties thanking them for attending the mediation.  I believe that it is not only polite to send a thank you letter, but it also keeps you in the forefront of the parties’ minds.

During the seminar, I was asked the question “What form of communication do I use to follow up with people after a mediation as part of ongoing communications?”  The answer is simple:  It depends.  I think it is important that you use different types of communications.  Many people, especially as part of today’s digital society, like email.  However, it is important for you to find out what the individual person’s tastes are regarding communications.  Some people prefer personal contact or telephonic contact.  Others only like to communicate by email.  I have one client that prefers text messaging.

You have to make sure that you use the method that is best suited towards the client’s needs.

The issue of follow up becomes especially important if the case has not settled.  Some cases just can’t settle at the time of the mediation and need time to ripen.  Your follow up will be critical to helping find out when the case will be ripe and finding out what you can do to help settle the case.

With that said, I still think that communicating in different forms is valuable.  You should not make your communications routine and identical.  It should not be that every 4th Tuesday you will be emailing the client.  Such rote and routine communication actually can do more damage than meaningful communication through different means.  If you have called the client recently, maybe you should consider email, or a letter.  Keep it fresh.