Why I May Be the Mediator for You

by | July 2023

Michael Ludwig outside smiling

How do you choose the mediator for your dispute? And where do I fit in?

Goat cheese marionberry habanero is one of the latest flavors at a local ice cream shop (shout out to Salt & Straw!). They also have pear and blue cheese, honey lavender, and more. When I was a kid, we had 31 flavors. Now there seem to be that many ice cream shops, and they continue to come up with new and innovative flavors. There is something for everybody. Just as you have a lot of choices when you crave ice cream, you also have a lot of choices when looking for a mediator.

When there are so many mediators to choose from, how do you select the right mediator for your dispute, and where do I fit in?

Most practitioners want to work with a mediator who is a good fit for a particular dispute:

  • Is the mediator knowledgeable in the subject matter?
  • Will the mediator relate well to my client?
  • Can the mediator deal with my opposing counsel?
  • Is the mediator’s style suitable for our dispute?
  • Are we going to settle?

The best way to get to know how a mediator works is by mediating with them. For those of you with whom I have not yet had the privilege of working, allow me to share a little bit about my mediation style to help you decide whether I am the right mediator for your dispute.

I Specialize in Mediating Employment Disputes.

I focus my mediation practice on employment law disputes, including discrimination, retaliation, harassment, wage and hour class actions, PAGA, and more. With over 27 years of practical, litigation experience representing employers, I can quickly zero in on the most significant factual and legal issues in a dispute that are likely to influence settlement. My work as an advocate included hundreds of occasions where I had to convince defendant-employers that it was time to settle and determine the appropriate settlement amount. All the while, I maintained positive relationships with opposing counsel, whether during litigation or settlement negotiations. Moreover, I have participated in hundreds of successful mediations as an advocate, gaining valuable insights from some of the best mediators in the world. Building on this experience, I have successfully mediated well over a hundred disputes as a mediator.

I Respect the Parties and the Process.

A tenet of my mediation practice is to treat all participants with respect. I will treat your client with respect. I will treat the attorneys with respect. And I will respect your relationship with your client. This is part of my mediation style, as I understand and appreciate the significance of a strong attorney-client relationship when making tough decisions about settlement.

I Believe in Self-determination in Mediation.

My goal is to facilitate attorneys and their clients in reaching resolutions on their own terms. While I am unabashedly an advocate for settlement, I am not interested in settling a dispute merely to bolster my own track record. My role is to secure a settlement that best serves the parties’ interests. I do not subscribe to the theory that a good settlement leaves both sides dissatisfied; I strive for both sides to feel confident that they made the right decision when agreeing to settle.

I Am Persistent in Pursuing Resolution.

If we do not settle the day of the mediation, I remain connected to the attorneys so we can continue to explore resolution. As the case evolves, settlement positions may change, the goals of the parties may change, and the procedural posture of the case may change. I view our ongoing settlement discussions as an essential part of the case until its conclusion, by settlement or otherwise.

I Am Flexible in My Mediation Approach.

No two disputes are alike. Parties have different goals and interests. Attorneys have different approaches to settlement negotiations and mediation. Cases often present unique factual and legal nuances. Thus, I adapt my mediation style to align with the wants, needs, and interests of whoever I am working with on a particular day.

There are lots of good mediators out there, and lots of good, new mediators. There’s someone for everybody. As Mae West once said, “I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.” I look forward to working with you.

Want to connect? Please find me on LinkedIn.

Hi I’m Mike Ludwig

I committed myself to honing my craft as a mediator and relentlessly learning everything I could about dispute resolution. I will endeavor to share thoughts and insights about some facet of mediation, negotiation, and dispute resolution, and other information that could be helpful or interesting to you.