What is Shuttle Mediation?
Partners who cannot agree hire attorneys and a shuttle mediator. Each party sits with his or her attorney in a separate room. One side makes proposals. The mediator shuttles from the proposer to the opponent and makes all reasonable arguments, legal and otherwise, why the opponent should accept the proposals. The opponent counter-proposes, the mediator shuttles to the other room, and makes the opponent’s arguments. Eventually, the parties may “agree,” which means they accept compromises they deem preferable to further negotiation. This process works best for parties who reach deadlock, but want to avoid the delay, publicity, and expense of litigation.
One should carefully distinguish shuttle mediation, which occurs with the parties in separate rooms who speak only through an intermediary, from facilitative mediation, the goal of which is to help the parties speak directly with one another.