"Chance favors the prepared mind." - Louis Pasteur
Read the Rules of Procedure: The best preparation begins with reading the Rules of Procedure for your chosen type of case with COMA and being familiar with procedural expectations. We encourage you to print these out and read them prior to printing or completing the form.
Documents & Exhibits: If you choose any form of Arbitration or Med-Arbitration, be fully prepared, including organizing your documents and exhibits in a book that can be easily referred to when you feel under pressure. The well-organized exhibit book is useful in Documentary and Teleconference Hearings also.
- We suggest that Claimants use a system of alphabetical exhibits (exh. A, exh. B, exh. C etc) and
- Respondents use a system of numerical exhibits (exh. 1, exh. 2, exh. 3 ect).
This will allow you to present your document without confusing it with your opponent's similar document.
Statment of Claim or Response: Thoughtfully prepare your case. Write a brief but concise statement detailing the highlights in the case in chronological order. During a verbal presentation, you may read verbatim from this statement, and check off the points after you present them. Try not to get bogged down with details that don't help you tell the most important points of your story. Repeating, dwelling on details that are not pertainent, forgetting to bring out the most important facts are all common mistakes when people feel nervous and under pressure. COMA's Med-Arbitrators and Arbitrators cannot help you prepare or present your case. An arbitrator may clarify a point that you presented, but cannot continuously drill down to assist you in your presentation. When prepared, it is possible to relax and tell your story. Choose carefully what is worth including and what can be left out.
Write a clear statement to include in your filing documents that spells out what you are asking for. An arbitrator or med-arbitrator cannot give you what you do not ask for. You are generally prohibited from adding to the claim or request for relief on the day of the Arbitration or Med-Arbitration. Sometimes disputes go beyond the dollar amount requested. If you are asking for return of property, access to retrieve your belongings, specific performance on a contract, etc - make sure include every request in writing upon submitting your case to Colorado Mediators & Arbitrators. It is wise to be fair in what you ask for.
If you are asking for monetary relief for an accummulation of expenses, bring all receipts along with a summary of dates and amounts. It is not enough to say that you spent an amount and wish to be reimbursed. You must prove your case by demonstrating what your expenses actually were.
We hope these pointers are helpful. You may consider seeking legal counsel in order to know what your rights are, to prepare your case, or to present your case. Also know that many participants to mediation, med-arbitration, and arbitration have successfully presented their case pro se and have had good success in doing so.