“I did not do anything wrong!” “They do not deserve anything!” “I am not resolving anything with them!” “I am not giving a penny to them!” These are just some of the comments I constantly get when I tell my clients that we have been ordered to mediation or that we should negotiate a settlement or voluntarily enter into mediation.
Mediation is defined by MerriamWebster Dictionary as “the act or process of mediating; especially: intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise.”
After 15 years of being involved in litigation and hundreds of mediations in different capacities even as the mediator, I can sincerely and without hesitation express to my clients that mediation over litigation is the best route for them, the majority of the time. The only ones that are guaranteed to win in litigating a case through trial are the lawyers. As I frequently tell my clients win, lose, or draw my bill is forthcoming and in some events the opposing counsel’s bill as well.
There are times that litigation is necessary and cannot be avoided, but the majority of the time if the disputing parties are able to set aside their emotion and look at the big picture, a settlement can be reached. After I get the rant of the comments above, I usually like to sit down with the client and give them a road map of the different scenarios and the likelihood of success and consequences they each bring. Basically we run a cost benefit analysis.
After going through the exercise, most of the time, clients are able to understand the importance of mediation and why even settling for less than you think you deserve or paying more than you think the other party deserves is in their best interest. Compromise! Compromise! Compromise! It may not be their best case scenario in theory, but is the best case scenario they can control, otherwise the decision of how the dispute will end is usually in the hands of a jury or judge. Please keep an open mind when looking for solutions to any of your problems, legal or otherwise