The Value In the Timing of Concessions

You may be very convincing, but don’t expect reason alone to carry the day in mediation. Many settlements aren’t arrived at before there’s been something cathartic experienced.

In a recent mediation, the defendant’s attorney focused all of her joint caucus time admitting her client’s mistakes:  “… though not illegal, things could have been addressed more sensitively.  But the important thing is we took care of it.” Gracious, responsive, and entirely reasonable, but it left the emotional aspect unsatisfied.

By skipping over the part of addressing the personal (emotional) impact of the conflict, the defendant’s attorney made it drastically more difficult to reach resolution. Emotions must be attended to first so that the other can process being heard.  The complaining party needs to register having had a connection or impact on a personal level. Indeed, that’s typically the paramount purpose in agreeing to mediate. Reasoning can effectively take place afterwards.

The moral is there’s value in the timing of concessions.

About Maria Hanna Joseph

Maria Hanna Joseph is Principal of Joseph Mediation. Her 25 years of experience in employment law, include 16+ of work and mediating for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination which through which she has gained valuable insight into the MCAD, its practices and decision making. This, as well as her experience in plaintiff and defense litigation, with private and public sector clients, international and local business concerns, and in issues from harassment and discrimination, to noncompetition agreements, business operation, transgender workplace matters, retaliation and many others, lend her valuable perspective for understanding and mediating an array of legal and personal issues. In terms of volume, Maria has served more than 2,000 cases. Maria's practice has been honed with study of mediation at Harvard Law School's Program of Instruction for Lawyers, negotiation at Harvard Law School's Program on Negotiation, and in the disciplines of Transformative Mediation and Family/Domestic Mediation, which are significant assets in managing the personal nature of employment disputes, and conflict in general. Attorneys and parties know Maria as candid, pragmatic and persevering in her commitment to help them achieve meaningful settlements while keeping sight of their most important interests. The insight and creativity afforded by her experience and training are realized in the resolutions that manifest. These qualities, along with her demeanor and the trust she engenders, have earned Maria a reputation for being able to manage highly tense and fraught situations and individuals, and settle a wide variety of disputes and tough cases.
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