Less Is More: Mediation Memorandum And Opening Comments At Mediation

Less Is More: Mediation Memorandum And Opening Comments At Mediation

If you’re reading this post, I’ve already captured your attention. But how can I keep it? According to studies, not for more than 10-20 minutes. Luckily, this read is just a quick five minutes.

This paper will dive into practical tips to save you time and energy, all while making a bigger impact with your mediation memorandum and opening comments at mediation.


Document Length And Formatting:

-Aim for a concise memorandum of three to five pages, double-spaced. This format strikes a balance between providing sufficient detail and ensuring readability.

-Recognize the limited attention span of your intended audience and, therefore, the importance of clarity and conciseness in presenting your case’s key points and arguments.

Establish Foundational Facts:

-Lay the groundwork by presenting essential factual details that frame the context of the case:

*Specify the plaintiff’s age at the time of the incident (Date of Loss – DOL).
*Clearly state the plaintiff’s job position during the relevant period.
*Document any instances of workdays missed due to the incident.
*Provide source information regarding the plaintiff’s earnings to highlight financial impacts.
*Describe the plaintiff’s return to work status, emphasizing the nature and capacity of their re-entry into the workforce.

Craft A Compelling Narrative:

-Construct a coherent and engaging storyline that connects these foundational facts.

Utilize Visual Aids:

-Enhance the memorandum’s impact by incorporating visual elements:

*Plaintiff: Consider including images depicting property damage, the plaintiff’s family, or their hobbies. These visuals can humanize the case and evoke empathy, reinforcing the personal stakes involved.

*Defence: Consider including surveillance photos and compare them to discovery evidence.

Language And Tone:

-Avoid using inflammatory language or subjective interpretations that could undermine the document’s credibility. Clear, factual language enhances understanding and facilitates a more focused evaluation of the case merits.

Emphasis On Evidentiary Support:

-Highlight that verifiable source documents (such as employment records or doctors records) carries greater persuasive weight than anecdotal evidence (verbal assertions or interpretations obtained during discovery processes).

Strategic Approach To Medical Information:

-Incorporate key excerpts from medical records directly into the text to substantiate critical arguments.

-Provide a concise summary of significant medical findings and treatments for easy reference.

-Attach comprehensive medical records separately, acknowledging their depth while focusing on the most pertinent information.

Timely Delivery For Impact:

-Submit the memorandum at least two weeks in advance of the scheduled mediation session.

-This proactive timeline allows an opportunity for the opposing decision-maker to review and digest the information presented. This should enhance the memorandum’s potential to shape the opposing party’s understanding and perspective on the case, fostering a more informed and constructive dialogue during mediation proceedings.


Voluntary Nature Of Opening Comments:

-Acknowledge that opening comments are optional. Evaluate their potential contribution to advancing the mediation process by asking yourself, “Will these comments add substantial value?”

Conciseness And Time Management:

-If a mediation is only three hours and openings take one hour, question the rationale behind spending a significant portion, such as one-third of the allotted time, discussing reasons not to settle the case.

Fresh Insights:

-Any remarks presented should offer new perspectives that are not extensively covered in written materials.

Respond To What You Have Read And Heard:

-This approach not only shows attentiveness but also showcases your ability to think quickly on your feet and advocate effectively in real-time.

Clarity And Accessibility In Language:

-Use plain language over complex terms to ensure that all parties, including non-legal professionals, can easily grasp the points being made.

Effective Use Of Visual Aids:

-Display critical records or documents (perhaps by sharing your screen in a virtual mediation) to provide visual support for key arguments. This practice allows participants to directly engage with the evidence, reinforcing the points being made.

Start With Points Of Agreement:

-Reactive devaluation is the tendency to devalue or dismiss proposals, ideas, or concessions simply because they originate from an opposing party or are perceived as conflicting with one’s own interests or beliefs.

-An initial alignment fosters a collaborative atmosphere which will be conducive to productive negotiation and problem-solving.

Point-First Communication Approach:

-Tell your audience what you are about to tell them. Aim to limit your discussion to three main points to maintain focus and prevent confusion among participants, ensuring that everyone walks away with a clear understanding of your position.

Authenticity In Apologies:

-A genuine apology can help defuse tension and create an environment where open dialogue and mutual understanding can thrive.

-There are ways to apologize for a person’s circumstances without an admission of responsibility.

Transparency And Avoiding Surprises:

-Avoid withholding crucial information until the last moment, as this can provoke defensiveness and hinder progress toward a resolution.

-Openness in sharing relevant information contributes to informed decision-making and facilitates the negotiation process.


Effective mediation begins with a concise memorandum and clear opening comments. Prioritize brevity, clarity, and strategic use of visuals and evidence. Engage your audience by presenting essential facts and fostering collaboration.


Logan Cooper joined the Cooper Mediation team in November 2017 and devotes 100% of her professional time to mediating at roster-rates. She has mediated over 400 cases in the areas of personal injury, property damage, long-term disability and other insurance-related disputes. She has handled global mediations, cases with multiple parties, self-represented litigants and cases with complicated technical and interpersonal challenges.

Logan can be reached at logan@coopermediation.ca or (416) 726-1344.

To schedule a mediation with Logan, visit: https://coopermediation.ca/logan-cooper-online-calendar/.

Cooper Mediation