“Ready?” – Prepare the Stage
- Mission: Why does your court want a mediation program? What do you hope to accomplish?
Task: Prepare a concise mission statement to guide program design and to assess whether the program meets your purpose once the program is under way.
- Jurisdiction: Does your court have the necessary authority to have the program?
Task: Each court needs to determine whether the court has the authority to establish a mediation program and, if desired, the authority to require the participants to contribute towards the cost. The authority must arise from a statute, Supreme Court rule, or a local rule approved by the Supreme Court. Authorization may be different by the level of the court and by the type of cases or issues to be mediated.
- Case Selection: What cases will be referred to the program?
Task: Identify the type of cases to be served by the mediation program, and at what stage of the proceedings mediation would preferably take place.
- For Free or For a Fee: What, if anything, should a party pay for the service?
Task: Determine the policy for whether the services should be provided for free or for a fee to a party. The policy will guide the structuring of fees as described in the “Get Set” section
- Mediator Selection: Who will mediate?
Task: Identify who will be providing the mediation services, including: will the mediators be court staff, contractors, or private providers; what qualifications must a mediator candidate have; how will candidates be selected; how will candidates apply; how will mediators be selected from the pool of candidates; and will the mediators be compensated?
- Court Leadership Selection: Who is in charge?
Task: Determine who will oversee and approve the design, implementation, and administration of the program.
- Court Staff Selection: Who will do the work?
Task: Determine who will serve on the Project Team to design and set-up the program, and identify the project leader.
- Court Resources: What is needed for the program?Task: Identify an initial list of resources which will be needed (such as rooms, staff, and funds) for the purpose of including the acquiring of resources in the Tasks and Timeline.
- Tasks and Timeline: What happens and when?Task: Have the Project Team determine the tasks and timeline for designing, implementing, and managing the program for approval by the court leadership.
- Stakeholders: Whose participation and support is needed?Task: Brief and solicit support and suggestions from those stakeholders who will be touched by the program, such as judges, court staff, attorneys, legal organizations, and the public. The effort to obtain early buy-in is better than to simply respond to reactions after the program is rolled out.