What if the ‘other side’ won’t listen?

What do you do when you have a dispute and the real problem is that the other side won’t stop litigating? Your client wants to stop the dispute, but ‘they’ won’t let them. And your client is manacled to them.

Well, try mediating it.

If the parties don’t trust each other, they probably aren’t listening to each other either. But they will listen to your mediator, so use your mediator as the bridge to get the other side to see things differently.

If the issues have already been aired, rehashing them again in a joint session may only alienate. So get the mediator to ask questions instead. To help people put together the missing pieces, and see things from a different perspective. Or to change the dynamics, say by drawing up on a whiteboard the bones of the settlement agreement, so that people can see just how few outstanding pieces they need to settle the dispute.

Like it or not, it isn’t what you say. It’s what they hear.

So let them hear it from someone else. Maybe that way, they’ll listen