Unlike many people I know, I tend never to leave a ball game before it’s over nor walk out of a movie theater before the credits have ended, convinced that I might miss something. After all, who knows what might happen if I’m willing to stay, just a little bit longer? Consider these examples:
(1) On September 19, 2006, the Los Angeles Dodgers staged what may well be the greatest comeback in baseball history, slamming four consecutive home runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers went on to win the game in the bottom of the tenth on another home run. Close friends were at that game and would have witnessed the historic comeback if only they’d been willing to stay, just a little bit longer. Instead, as L.A. fans are prone to do, they left at the end of the eighth inning and heard the climactic events on the radio, as they maneuvered their way through the traffic-jammed parking lot.
(2) Films such as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Ironman” have shown “bonus” scenes after the credits, while countless other films, including the recent “Hangover” and “Up,” have shown additional scenes as the credits were playing. Those in the audience who chose not to stay, just a little bit longer, missed some memorable cinematic moments – some that were hilarious and others that were especially touching or dramatic.
In mediation, the best way to learn the opposing party’s bottom line is to stay until the very end, letting the process play itself out until the case settles or the mediator declares an impasse.
Those who become frustrated with the slow pace of settlement discussions and decide to leave, thereby bringing the process to an abrupt end, are usually left to wonder just how much more the opposing party might have been willing to compromise. In contrast, those who are willing to stay, just a little bit longer, often find themselves signing settlement agreements when only moments earlier they were convinced that resolution was impossible.
If your client grows impatient and wants to end the mediation process , do everything you can to persuade him or her not to do so. After all, who knows what might happen if everyone is willing to stay, just a little bit longer?
As always, it would be my pleasure to assist you and your clients in the dispute resolution process. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of service.
Floyd J. Siegal