Preparing for Mediation: Where the Real Advocacy Begins

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The importance of mediations as an effective tool in reaching a settlement cannot be stressed enough. A mediation provides counsel with a very unique opportunity. It is often the one time in the entire litigation process where you have the opportunity to discuss the claim, your client’s injuries, and the damages, directly with the decision maker who has the authority to settle the action. A successful mediation requires effective preparation which includes a comprehensive reviewed assessment of the case, the preparation of persuasive mediation materials, management of client expectations, and development of a strategy for the mediation itself.

Ready for Mediation?

One of the first things that needs to be determined is whether the case is ready for a mediation. Going to a mediation too early is often a waste of time because counsel and the mediator may not be fully informed about the facts or have the necessary information to fairly assess the key issues in the case. On the other hand, going to mediation too late can result in failure. Counsel and/or the parties may be too entrenched in their positions and the willingness to compromise may have passed. The costs of litigation incurred to date may discourage settlement. Most cases have a window of opportunity for meaningful settlement discussion. Mediation too early or too late is bound to fail.

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