Each mediator has their own technique and work style when conducting mediations. However, the following is an example of how a mediation session may be conducted:
The mediator's opening statement discusses the process, the stages, the mediator's role and the confidentiality requirements. All present will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement specifically agreeing to hold confidential all discussions in mediation. [CCP § 1775.10; § 1775.12; Evidence Code § 1122]
Each party will present its uninterrupted opening statement setting forth its position regarding the facts and the law.
After the opening statement, the mediator and parties may ask each other questions or respond to the opening statements. Most mediators will allow this process to continue as long as it appears to be useful.
Thereafter, the mediator will usually call for a private discussion with each side, sometimes called a caucus. During this time, statements previously made in the joint sessions are explored more fully.
In private discussion, clients and counsel should assist the mediator in understanding the issues and interests at stake. The parties may wish to disclose confidential information to the mediator during these discussions. The mediator will help the parties and counsel to see the strengths, weaknesses, positions, arguments, risks and possibilities of their case.
Either in private discussion or joint session, the mediator may assist the parties in generating and exchanging proposals for settling the case. When the parties reach a settlement agreement, all essential terms will be reduced in writing which will be an enforceable contract if the parties so agree. [Evidence Code § 1123]