After discussing Five Reasons Why Your Clients Have Unwarranted Faith in the Righteousness of their Cause Victoria Pynchon at Settle It Now Negotiation Blog give us Five Ways Your Mediator Can Help You "Depress" Your Clients' Unreasonable Expectations:
1. let the mediator know you need some help with your client. Call him ahead of time if he doesn't call you to discuss the nuances of the mediation session itself. You can be candid without giving away the store.
2. let the mediator be the "fall guy," taking the "hit" for delivering this bad news -- while you, one of the best attorneys in town, were busily developing a great case, the other side's attorney was doing precisely the same thing.
3. allow the mediator to develop as strong a personal relationship with your client as possible and permit her to ask probing questions that will gently reveal the problems with your case that have developed over the course of time.
4. be willing to break away from your client for separate session caucases with the mediator to discuss how things are going in the attorney-client dynamic so that course-change is possible.
5. let the mediator know that your client is going to need more time to digest bad news -- if your mediator doesn't offer, ask him to arrange for the offer/demand to remain on the table for a pre-determined amount of time and ask him to follow up with both parties during that period of time.
Remember: there's no such thing as impasse, only a recess in the settlement discussions.
Unless, of course, the case is a huge roll of the dice and your client is a gambler, or there is some psychopathology at play where the game is more important than the outcome. Sometimes those cases simply must be tried, but what a shame. Most people would really prefer to control their own destiny.