When clients work with SMS, they experience a different kind of mediation process. At SMS we believe that, in order to deliver the best possible result for all parties, preparation and follow through is critical. In fact, the actual mediation session is only one part of the process and Jeremy is engaged with his clients throughout.
As shown in the diagram below, there are four stages in the SMS Mediation Process, which begins at least 30 days in advance of the actual mediation session: 1) Preparation; 2) Pre-Meetings; 3) Mediation Session; and 4) Follow up to complete the process.
SMS Mediation Process
Preparation begins at least 30 days before the scheduled mediation session and involves each client sending their respective briefs to SMS. Once he has reviewed the briefs Jeremy then follows up with a confidential list of questions for each client to ensure his own full understanding of the case as he prepares to lead the mediation.
Jeremy also sends a short but important questionnaire to each client, which helps them prepare for the mediation session by thinking through the strengths and weaknesses of the case from different points of view. This questionnaire, along with the answers to any confidential questions received from Jeremy based on the briefs should be returned to SMS at least 2 weeks before the mediation session. PLEASE NOTE: All communication, including answers to the questionnaires, remain private and confidential, and will not be shared with the opposing party.
At that point, Jeremy will meet with each client separately, in order to discuss preparation and readiness for mediation. These meetings are completely private and confidential and involve Jeremy, the litigant, and their lawyer. The purpose of these meetings is to meet one another, for Jeremy to summarize the process and mediator’s role and approach, and to answer questions, confirm issues, and address any specific concerns (ie. unusual emotions, settlement expectations, settlement approval, persons attending, prior offers, settlement authority of adjuster, etc.) At this point Jeremy will make suggestions on how each client should proceed in order to get the most out of the upcoming mediation session.
The mediation sessions are booked well in advance and are held in full service mediation facilities in downtown Toronto or, if required, in another location mutually agreed upon by the clients and SMS.
Once the mediation session is completed, Jeremy follows up to finalize the process. In the case of a successful settlement, he will ensure the appropriate steps are taken so that the settlement is achieved swiftly and professionally. If the mediation process fails to reach a settlement, Jeremy will follow up as requested by both clients, and will check back after 90 days to determine whether there is interest from both parties in further discussion.
For more information and guidance specifically for plaintiffs and insurers throughout the SMS mediation process, please see our section on “Guidance“.