As a firm believer in mediation, you may think I would believe that you should mediate early in a case every time.
Well think again.
Consider Geoff Sharp's post here. As he writes "Most clauses, and there are hundreds of versions, are drafted on the premise that the dispute should get to mediation sooner rather than later. Definitely before any arbitration/court proceedings are started.
Some are multi layered; 1) first negotiate, 2) move on to mediate, 3) then arbitrate or litigate as a last resort.
Many have strict time frames, often measured in days, so one side can force the selection of a mediator and convene the mediation within a nano second of the dispute occurring.
But, these clauses are pushing people through the doors of the mediation room too soon... before the dispute is mature, before the raw edges have been knocked off.
They come to the table without adequately defining to themselves, and each other, what the dispute is all about - upon what it is they agree and disagree, without adequate document exchange and to be honest without adequately spending time wallowing in the conflict and all that it brings with it."