Most parties, especially first timers, come to mediation with a great deal of trepidation. A well-timed joke may help put the parties at ease. A party may feel that “this is not a laughing matter.” Timing is everything with jokes and, of course, you must know your audience. I use humor often in mediations to break the ice in tense situations. They say laughter is the best medicine. Let’s hope so.
Rod B. Neuman is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator (also admitted in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida) and offers these observations based upon his experiences mediating cases throughout the State of Florida.