L. J. Johnson Discusses the Importance of Preparation in Mediation with The Texas Lawbook

The Texas Lawbook’s Brooks Igo recently sat down with L.J. Johnson to hear his unique approach to early dispute resolution.

Question: What is your approach or style to mediation?

I can’t say enough about the value and importance of prep work before a mediation starts so that the mediator knows all the facts, the relationship dynamics and the potential sticking points. You’ve got to get to the heart of a conflict before you can truly start settling a dispute. If you’re not able to peel the layers away and find the true conflict between two parties – the emotional makeup – then a true and lasting resolution of a particular dispute is very difficult. When emotions and business relationships are involved, the true source of a conflict isn’t always money, and it’s the mediator’s job to dig in and identify it. Advance prep work allows everyone to hit the ground running in mediation.

I’ve been involved in mediations where you wondered if the mediator had truly read the brief or position paper prior to coming in for a full day of mediation. In those cases, you end up with a mediator spending all morning trying to get to know the parties and asking questions that could have been asked much earlier. I just think there’s a better way to do this than coming in and waiting until the wee hours of the morning to come up with a settlement when the parties are tired, hungry and just mentally spent.

A portion of the Q&A with The Texas Lawbook is above. To read the entire article, click here.