Although confidentiality is valuable in almost any matter, it can be particularly valuable in certain types of cases. Cases involving trade secrets or confidential business information can be mediated without fear that the information will be disclosed in a public forum. Employment disputes often involve issues that the parties would prefer to discuss and resolve in confidence. The same is obviously true in domestic relations cases.
Timing can be important in maximizing the value of confidentiality. If there is value in settling a dispute in a confidential matter, it is probably better to mediate before a lawsuit is filed. As the old saying goes, it is impossible to "un-ring a bell." If information is revealed in a public forum before mediation (i.e. the bell is rung), there may be relatively little value in confidentiality.