top of page




Mediators’ Perspectives on Probate and Trust Resolution

by Edmund J. Sikorski Jr., Randolph T. Barker, and Teresa A. Killeen – January 20, 2023

This article is intended to build upon a previous article enumerating the benefits of mediating

probate and trust disputes by discussing the process from a mediator’s viewpoint, noting both

best practices and common pitfalls on the part of the litigants.

Essential Attributes of a Effective Mediator

by Edmund J. Sikorski, Jr., J.D.

Over the time spectrum of mediating monetary claims, impasse causing problems can be categorized as Front End, Middle, and Late. The focus of this article is to discuss some of the symptoms and prescriptions to deal with signs of impending impasse in each category.


When is the Right Time to Mediate?

by Edmund J. Sikorski, Jr., J.D.

As is the case in answering any legal question, the answer is usually preceded by the observation, “that depends.”  This article explores some of the more important considerations in answering the question posed. 


The Root of Mediation Impasse: Case Valuation

by Edmund J. Sikorski, Jr., J.D.

The focus of this essay is to review, explore and propose case valuation methodologies to resolve the largest impediment to case resolution and mediation impasse: Case Valuation. 


Aristotle on Mediation of Insured Claims

by Edmund J. Sikorski, Jr., J.D.

Despite the fact that FRCP 1.720(b)was amended on January 1, 2012 (requiring full authority certification, etc.), a recent discussion conducted in the LinkedIn group “Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators” consistently reported that the new rule has had little, if any, effect on the mediation process. 


The Case for Mediation Of Discovery Disputes

by Edmund J. Sikorski, Jr., J.D. & David Steinfeld, Esq.

Mediation is a viable tool for resolving traditional and e-discovery disputes; the process offers litigants a cost effective alternative to protracted and contentious hearings and relieves burdens, such as sanctions, that Courts can impose. 


Mediating e-Discovery Disputes

by Edmund J. Sikorski, Jr., J.D. & David Steinfeld, Esq.

Discovery of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) is the newest and developing area of practice in civil litigation. E-discovery began in complex commercial disputes, but is now appearing in a multitude of cases and will continue to develop and permeate all manner of civil cases. 


Preparing the Client for Mediation

by Edmund J. Sikorski

While much has been written on the subject of attorney preparation for mediation, there is scant written on the subject of preparing the client for mediation. The focus of this article is what information a client needs to know and understand PRIOR to mediation. 


Preparation: The Key to Settling Your Case at Mediation

by Edmund J. Sikorski

“Boy Scout motto: BE PREPARED! Most problems come from lack of preparation (F. Shields McManus, Circuit Judge, View From The Bench, Oct. 13, 2011 {CLE #18742})." This article offers a list of key elements that, if addressed in advance of mediation, will enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome. 


Mediating Insured Claims

by Edmund J. Sikorski

Mediation of Insured claims requires a different negotiating style and mediation approach because the dynamics of the participants are completely different from those involved in other areas of dispute resolution such as commercial, probate, real property and family. 


Selecting the Time to Mediate

by Edmund J. Sikorski

When is it time to mediate? Consider the following scenarios: Settlement discussions have stalled for several months and it is becoming clear that litigation will begin. The parties’ positions have become entrenched. 


Mediating Commercial Disputes

by Edmund J. Sikorski

Commercial disputes are factually intensive, can involve numerous expert witnesses, multiple parties, and unbelievably complex trial exhibits. It is long, incredibly expensive, and becomes a drain on both the human and economic resources of the enterprise. 


Use of Jury Instructions in Mediation

by Edmund J. Sikorski

Paul McMahon, 2012 Chair of the Martin County Bar Association’s Trial Lawyers Committee invited Marjorie Gadarian- Graham, a noted contributor to Florida jury instruction jurisprudence and distinguished appellate counsel, to address the Committee on the early use if jury instructions to prepare pleadings and guide the discovery process at its February 2012 meeting. 


Mediating Probate Disputes

by Edmund J. Sikorski

Mediation is simply supervised negotiation between parties who want to settle a dispute. Process is the essence of mediation. Mediating probate disputes is a close cousin to family mediation and commercial mediation because it is usually more interest related than positional but it usually has more players and more complex emotional issues. 


Effective Mediation Briefs

by Edmund J. Sikorski

Aside from the cost of preparation and a possible perception that a mediation brief is not going to effect the mediation very much because the mediator is not the decision maker, mediation briefs can be a very effective tool in the dispute resolution process if the focus is aimed at two areas. 


Mediation Stalls When Certainty (Digging In) Prevails

by Edmund J. Sikorski

Every mediated negotiation must fluctuate between doubt and certainty to proceed to resolution. Initially, the parties to the process usually have achieved some sense of certainty with regard to the position taken. However, a party must experience doubt in order to arrive at a mediated solution. 


Mediation Preparation Check List For Attorneys

by Edmund J. Sikorski

The most powerful step anyone can take to achieve their negotiation goals is preparation. We need look no further than a publication of the Defense Procurement and Acquisitions Policy. The department asserts in is online Negotiation Preparation materials that thorough preparation is the most important prerequisite to effective negotiation. 


What Disputants Want From a Mediator

by Edmund J. Sikorski

Disputants often want mediators to hear their point of view and then convince everyone else involved that they are right and should get their way. Some more sophisticated understand that some compromise is necessary and that part of negotiation is looking at new approaches to solve a problem, but they still want the mediator to help them advocate their interests.


Making Money Talk in Mediation

by Edmund J. Sikorski

Much of the literature in the field of mediation approaches the subject on a theory of problem solving. But I have observed that that approach to civil trial court mediation where money is the only thing that will change hands has limited application.





Preparation: The Key To Mediation Success

by Bennett G. Picker

Most mediation advocates in commercial disputes understand that the process offers an opportunity for clients to save time and money, preserve relationships, and achieve creative or business-driven solutions not available in either litigation or arbitration. The flexible mediation process permits the parties to go well beyond the litigation positions, and delve into the underlying interests and needs of the participants.


The Use And Abuse Of The Joint Session

by Michael P. Carbone

Traditionally, mediations of litigated cases begin with a joint session in which the mediator invites both sides to explain their case. The mediator moderates the discussion to insure that each person has an opportunity to speak without interruption. Time may also be provided for rebuttals or to pose questions to the other side. 


A Mediator's Fantasy: The Perfect Mediation 

by Richard G. Spier

Unable to sleep one night after a particularly arduous, frustrating, and contentious mediation (though the case settled), I found myself fantasizing about The Perfect Mediation.


Exhilaration And Disappointment

by Alec Wisner

How much better it would be if participants in mediation would stop being advocates wedded to their own positions and, instead, were able to honestly analyze their opponents' case and figure out what it will take to move their position


Condo Conflict – Facing A Perfect Storm!

by David D. Stein

In the cogent, if not immortal, words of Billy Joel, “they started to fight when the money got tight. And they just didn’t count on the tears”. This is true of romantic couples being observed in Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, families in general and, these days in particular, people living in and dealing with Common Interest Developments [CID] and Home Owner Associations [HOA].


Mediating Family Property and Estate Conflicts: Keeping the Peace and Preserving Family Wealth 

by Jay Folberg

Of all of the cases I have mediated over the past 30 years, the most challenging and rewarding disputes have been those between family members over family property, estates, trusts and businesses.

bottom of page