Attorney Competence at the Mediation Table.
I mediated with a really good lawyer the other day. Here’s what I mean:
• Her case was ripe for mediation: she had undertaken and completed sufficient discovery so that she knew her case and the other side’s case well.
• She had well prepared her client in advance and both were ready with realistic expectations and a plan for negotiation.
• In advance, she had sent to me and to the other side an enlightening and useful mediation statement.
• She participated with me in a private pre-mediation telephone conference that helped us both.
• She understood the process and participated fully in the mediation, advocating zealously and meaningfully but not overly aggressively or emotionally; she never lost her composure.
• She asked perceptive questions and really listened to the responses; she understood the needs and interest of both sides of the dispute.
• She understood, allowed, and used the pacing of the mediation to negotiate and she adapted to the moves of the other side.
• She managed her client well so that they were unified in their approach, but knowingly let the client speak because the case was the client’s and not hers.
• She allowed me as mediator sufficient latitude in the management of the negotiation to say and do what needed to be said and done and she never got in the way.
• When the parties finally came to terms, she presented a pre-prepared settlement agreement (with a few blanks for negotiated deal points) which she had drafted and brought for use if the negotiation yielded a deal, and which was acceptable to the other side.
Of course the negotiation was challenging and no one presumed that it would result in resolution; nevertheless the mediation was made easier and more likely to succeed by the competence of this attorney, who really helped both in the dispute resolution process and in the resulting settlement of the case.
Congratulations to her (and to her client) for a job well done and for being a good example for others.
David I. Karp is a full time independent mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California. His website is at http://karpmediation.com .