Insurance expert witness Guy Kornblum is author of Do Lawyers Really Understand What They Need to Do to Prepare For Mediation?
Recently I was invited by our local legal publication to be one of five persons on a Mediation Roundtable to discuss mediation techniques. We were interviewed by a moderator on various topics about mediation. I was the only lawyer in private practice on the panel. The others were all mediators, three were lawyers who are now doing full time mediation and the other was a retired trial court judge who for the last seven years has been mediating privately with a local service.
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 could be listed as follows:
6) The lawyers have not discussed mediation as an alternative to trial – i.e., the “present value” of money (i.e., a settlement) versus the uncertainty of a recovery in the future;
7) The client believes that the mediator is going to decide something and does not understand the role that the mediator plays as a neutral.
8) The mediators spend too much time (one said 30%) of the initial time doing what the lawyers should have done to educate the clients;
9) The lawyer is impatient with the process, so the client is as well.
More to come from The Resolution Advocate