I did a mediation last week that settled by 2.30 pm! It was quite a significant claim and counterclaim but both parties were up for it and were sensible in their negotiations.
Of course this is unusual – the time, I mean, not sensible negotiations! Long gone are the days when it was considered to be ‘manly’ to be mediating in the early hours of the morning.
Most of my mediations do not finish in normal working hours – in fact I say at the start, after checking if anyone has any time constraints, “I’m here as long as you want me but I’m on overtime from 6pm. It’s amazing how that seems to focus the mind!
On rare occasions I might even say “Ok, so let’s assume you are signing a settlement agreement at 6pm, you need to be shaking hands at 4pm which means you need to be in serious negotiations by 2pm. So you have from now until 2pm too get all the detail/rubbish out of the way”.
Some people like a route map to a deal and on more than one occasion a party has said “it’s 2pm – we should be in serious negotiations!!”. And they started to negotiate seriously!