Take Advantage of the Procedural Flexibility Inherent in Mediation.

Unlike trial courts, which operate under elaborate procedural rules, mediation has no formal procedural requirements – just a few customary procedures, e.g., joint opening sessions, opening statements, separation of the parties for caucus bargaining. Mediators are free to proceed as the situation may require or as the parties may request. If the parties request, for […]

Limit Your Opening Anchor to a Number You Can Justify.

Parties usually begin positional money bargaining from extreme positions known as anchors to show confidence in their cases and to manipulate the midpoint of the gap between them.  So long as your anchor does not exceed your best day in Court, the Mediator can explain to the opposing party what it is based on. Often, […]

Avoid a Misunderstanding When Proposing a Link or Bracket Move.

A timely link or bracket move, e.g., “We’ll increase our offer to $X, if you reduce your demand to $Y,” is a potent negotiating tool that can streamline the bargaining process, flush out the parties’ real intentions, and build momentum towards settlement. Just recognize that when you propose a bracket, the other side will read […]

Be Sure You Have Enough Information to Reach a Mediated Settlement.

In theory, early mediation is the quickest, most cost-efficient way to resolve a dispute. The problem, however, is that until there has been sufficient discovery, all the lawyers know about the material facts is what their own clients have told them, leading to vastly differing valuations of claims and defenses. It is only when counsel […]

Lawyers Representing Clients at Mediations Should Be Mindful of Their Ethical Obligations

Although mediations are private, informal proceedings, observing the Rules of Professional Conduct governing lawyers is no less obligatory than at a hearing or trial. Lawyers representing clients at mediations should be mindful of duties imposed by applicable rules, especially those in Chapter 4, which include: to avoid impermissible conflicts of interest; to provide competent representation […]

Consideration for a Settlement Can Include More Than Just Money.

Most successful mediations result in parties agreeing that one will pay the other an agreed sum. When the parties cannot agree on the amount, however, they can supplement the monies available with nonmonetary consideration, for example, letting the defendant pay in installments, or agree to a covenant, such as a noncompete, or provide goods or […]

When Formulating an Offer Think About How It Will Be Received.

Negotiating parties naturally focus on their own needs and pay far less attention to the needs of their adversaries. This bias toward its own needs colors the offers that each party makes, but until the needs of all parties are adequately addressed there can be no consensual resolution. So when formulating a settlement offer, consider […]

A Defendant That Needs Extended Payment Terms Should Make a Timely Request.

A defendant will often find itself unable to pay in a lump sum the amount needed to settle. Happily, to obtain a sufficient settlement a plaintiff will often agree to accept payments spread over a period of months or even years. If your defendant client will require payment terms be sure to ask for them […]