October 2015 Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 10 – Walton County Bar Association
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October 2015 Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 10
aaron white


By Aaron White

Greetings Walton County Attorneys. I hope this newsletter finds each of you well. Thank you to all who joined us for our September meeting. I want to thank Assistant County Attorney Sidney Noyes (WCBA Treasurer) for her presentation to our members concerning beach re-nourishment and the details of the County’s proposed beach easement. Her presentation was very informative and much appreciated. I hope to see each of at our next meeting which will be a joint meeting with the Okaloosa County Bar Association. More information concerning the event is included within the newsletter. I hope to see each of you there and to have a strong showing of our members.



Choosing A Mediator

 It is that time.  The case is ready.  You need that box checked on the way to trial.  Your client is in the right frame of mind.  You have discovered that piece of evidence giving you leverage.  Whatever your reason for going to mediation, you need to select a mediator.  Mind you, usually, this is not a unilateral decision.  So, whether you are actually making a final decision, or proposing a list of candidates, what should you consider in choosing a mediator?

There are obvious variables to consider, such as: cost, availability, location, experience, training & certification, etc.  Such factors will always need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.  One factor which should override all others though, is a mediator’s commitment to the process of mediation.  Why?  How often have you heard stories of, or even personally experienced, a case where the parties were so entrenched or polarized there was no possibility of settlement?  Mediation was merely a box to be checked so the judge would set a trial date.…?  Then, lo and behold, the case gets to mediation and simple participation in the process softens the parties’ positions and, after a few hours, days, or sessions, the case settles.

In today’s fast-paced culture, being goal-oriented is perceived as a positive trait, by and large. However, this perception often makes it easy to forget, or overlook, the simple value of process.  Often, by simply going through the steps of the mediation process, the parties discover creative, and even unique, ways of resolving their disputes.  Sometimes the mediator will make a suggestion, or ask a question which sends the parties down a new path to settlement.  More often, it is a collective effort by all the participants working together to find a resolution with which all the parties can live.

You have been through the initial joint session, and the mediator has met with each party in private caucus.  Now, you want to know what the offer is.  If there is not one, or you see it as more of the same, the temptation is to call it a day and get ready for trial.  A good mediator will encourage you to resist the temptation and keep talking.  This is more than the mediator trying to keep the meter running.  By investing in the process of mediation, possibilities arise.  While a mediator is supposed to be impartial to the parties and neutral as to the outcome, we all want to see cases resolved and people getting on with their lives.  So remember, pause, consider, and take the next step in the process.  When there is no hope for settlement, it will be recognized by all participants, including the mediator.  Until then, to quote the film, Apollo 13, “work the problem.”


Contributed by:   Daniel C. O’Rourke, Esq., Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit & Family Mediator


If you have an announcement OR suggestion to make our organization better OR wish to submit an article for publication in the newsletter, please submit same to Lisa Mollitor at lisa@critzerlaw.com.



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