Mediation is a process which starts at the initial contact with the parties or their lawyers. In that initial contact I want to find out how interested the parties actually are to resolving the case. I also want to start dealing with expectations and the possibility of impasse and how to deal with it. The mediation process runs smoother if the parties have exchanged necessary information, documents, etc. sufficiently in advance of the mediation. Nothing puts an end to constructive progress faster than a piece of important evidence surfacing during the mediation. In my view the parties should be encouraged to share at least part of their mediation submission with the other side in advance of the mediation. If there are matters that for trial strategy reasons need to remain confidential prepare a separate submission to just the mediator addressing those issues. The mediation process works best when all necessary information has been exchanged.