Civil mediation begins by exchanging some information with the mediator so that he or she understands the basics involved in the dispute. At the mediation, the mediator discusses the various benefits of mediation and gives an overview of the process, including telling the parties that the process is voluntary and confidential and the mediator’s role is to help the parties achieve an amicable settlement on the claim. The mediator does not impose any particular type of decision on the parties. Instead, he or she helps guide them to a resolution of the claim. The mediator meets with the parties individually, during which time the mediator helps to uncover the parties’ shared interests and alsoidentify the weaknesses of each party’s position so that they have a more realistic idea about the strength of their case. The mediator may encourage the parties to work together and brainstorm possible solutions. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator memorializes this in writing.