This comprehensive and highly informative book explains the reality of mediation. Written from a practical perspective, the author (an experienced mediator and former litigation solicitor) takes the reader right inside the process, from deciding whether to mediate, choosing a mediator and how the day will run, through to settlement and beyond.

Particularly enlightening to those less experienced in mediation will be the analysis of what often happens mid-afternoon in a one-day mediation session. Walker calls these phases ‘the wall’ and ‘the review’, and explains how to proceed to make a deal.

The book adopts the premise that negotiating to settle a dispute is, in essence, no different to negotiating a commercial deal, and that therefore it should not be seen as an adversarial process. The book advises litigation solicitors, barristers and disputing parties that the mediation day is best approached from a deal-making mindset. Walker explains how decisions are made – a key thing to understand as an adviser – which for parties is what mediation is all about.

Author: Stephen Walker

Publisher: Bloomsbury Professional, £70

Possibly the most useful sections for mediation advocates are the chapters on risk/benefit assessment and mind traps alert. The former chapter explains how to carry out a full pre-mediation analysis, a key (yet often overlooked) part of preparing for mediation. The latter chapter discusses what emotional and other factors influence decision-making and risk assessment.

These chapters provide a useful toolkit for working out what your clients might get out of a mediation and how you will assist them on the day.

While the title suggests this excellent book is only for mediation advocates, a much wider audience should read it, particularly disputing parties. Get a copy and give copies to each of those attending your next mediation – it will make it so much easier.

Rebecca Attree is an international commercial mediator at Attree & Co in London