Mini-Trial to Party Representatives

Often used in lieu of opening statements and a joint session at the outset of the mediation. Opposing counsel, in accordance with ground rules established with the assistance of the mediator, will make a formal case presentation summarizing key witness testimony and documents that would be introduced at trial. The goal is to provide a more formal presentation that highlights the risks of the ongoing litigation should the matter not resolve and can be far more powerful than truncated opening statements that often occur during a preliminary joint session in mediation. The audience of the mini-trial consists of the decision makers. Following the mini trial, the parties typically immediately move into mediation. Confidentiality applies to the proceedings.

Indications for consideration:

  • The parties and decision makers could benefit from a more formal presentation than what typically occurs during a standard joint session at mediation
  • The parties are interested in or could benefit from an evaluation of the quality and preparation of opposing counsel

  • One or more of the parties fails to fully appreciate the risks involved in the litigation
  • One or more of the parties could benefit from having their “day in court” and the simulation of a trial experience
  • One or more of the parties appear determined to “over-litigate” the case
  • One or more of the attorneys appears to need assistance in client control
  • One or more of the parties desire to “test run” their theories of the case


The parties have completed sufficient discovery to provide an effective presentation of the case. It can also be helpful in the event the parties have reached an impasse during mediation or there has been a prior ADR event that was not successful in resolving the dispute.