Insurance expert witness Guy Kornblum is author of Do Lawyers Really Understand What They Need to Do to Prepare For Mediation? After a recent Mediation Roundtable, here are Kornblum’s thoughts concerning mediation:
What I heard shocked me: Lawyers don’t know how to prepare for a mediation, and most of the lawyers who attend mediations just are not doing a very good job. The mediators all explained the hurdles they had to overcome. (Their chief complaints were listed at http://www.expertwitnessblog.com 7/7/08 & 7/14/08)….
In my experience, the “mediation process” begins when the client first meets with our lawyers and staff to discuss the case. It is important for us to factor in mediation as part of the Litigation Management Plan, and make it an event in the process of representing the client just like a deposition or hearing on a key motion. We discuss mediation as a way of testing the case as well as posturing it for resolution. We also advise the client how a mediation works, what its advantages are, and alert the client to mediation as part of the evolution of the case – a main event for which we will prepare just like we prepare for trial. I also stress that our advocacy is not comprised by our participating in a mediation.
Indeed I tell clients (after I agree to take the case) that offering to mediate is a show of confidence and strength in our position, BUT that mediation involves looking realistically at the issues – liability, damages and collection of any judgment – and the costs of going to trial in comparison to the value of a settlement.
More to come from The Resolution Advocate