My week's efforts were met with varying degrees of success. In the first, I would never have imagined that the case or the facts had such a high value--but it settled easily and to the great relief and satisfaction of both parties. In the next, the government's attorney refused to make any offer, despite the Plaintiff's attorney reducing his demand to 1/4 of his initial demand. In that one, I believed that if I could just get Plaintiff to come down to a reasonable number, the Defendant would reward that gesture by making an offer, particularly since the Plaintiff was still working there. Alas, complete and utter shut down. Inexplicable and unexpected. The sexual harassment case is still being negotiated, but suffice it to say the values being discussed are beyond my highest expectations.
The point in all of this rant is that after awhile, a seasoned mediator has a tendency to make predictions of outcomes which can obfuscate the negotiation. Yes, it's helpful to get everyone into that coveted "zone of possible agreement" early on, but occasionally the contours of the end zone are entirely different than my expectations and I am reminded that there are many factors beyond the facts and law that influence the ultimate settlement (or not) in every case.