Paul R. Fisher heads his own Los Angeles firm focusing on mediation and arbitration of construction, real estate, business, and employment disputes. He serves on the CPR Construction, Employment and California panels, among other national panels.
What are the toughest issues attorneys face in the relationship with their clients in the negotiation and mediation environment? At the top of the list are:
• The preliminary question of whether to mediate;
• Preparing the client for mediation;
• Preparing the client to withstand the perils of the joint session; and,
• How preparing the client for the tough issues benefits both the attorney-advocate and client.
This article is largely the product of interviews with more than two dozen attorneys who have candidly shared their experiences and collective enormous expertise in successfully resolving their clients’ disputes in mediation. The attorneys interviewed range from sole practitioners to those in national firms, and includes lawyers who represent Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and insurance carriers.
There is a preliminary, critical question to answer that can save a lot of time and money: “Should we go to mediation or not?”
For the defendant, going to mediation means paying. For the plaintiff, going means giving up some of the claim. There is no ability to mediate in good faith unless the client is willing to compromise.