I generally think mediation is a good thing. It gets the parties to the table and gives them the chance to settle their differences before incurring the expense of trial. Most of the mediations I participate in are court-ordered or contractually required because clients never really want to go to mediation.
And clients are never happy when they leave a mediation. No matter how much I try to limit expectations, or how many times I tell my clients that mediation means compromise and every party has to give up a little more than he really wants, they are never really satisfied after a mediation. Because they had to give up a little more than they wanted, just like I warned.
They don't realize that the saved tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in attorney's fees. Or that they have a bird in the hand instead of a shot at trial.
It's just so frustrating to know that you got a really good result that was truly in your client's best interest and to have the client remain dissatisfied.