Mediation is thriving. Cheaper than trial preparation, the parties maintain control over the resolution,
mediations luster has increased over the years. How does an attorney most effectively utilize this
popular ADR process? What happens at the end of the day if a settlement hasnt been reached? Gathered
to discuss these issues were Guy Kornblum of Guy Kornblum & Associates; Retired Superior Court Judge
Richard A. Hodge, mediator and arbitrator with ADR Services; Zela G. Claiborne, mediator and arbitrator
with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR);
Robert A. Murray, mediator with Arbitration and Mediation Center; and Cathy Yanni, mediator and special
master with JAMS, The Resolution Experts.
MODERATOR: Lets start with how a lawyer should prepare his
or her client for mediation.
YANNI: Many clients, even sophisticated clients, have the view that trial
is the only vehicle for resolving their case. I tell clients 98 percent of
all cases settle: the issue is when to settle, not if its going to settle.
KORNBLUM: As an attorney who represents clients in mediation, one of
the most important things for me is to assess how a client feels about
settling their case. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred she or he says I
really want to settle. If a client is resistant to the process of mediation
or settlement, I’m less likely to take the case than somebody who is
enthusiastic. I explain that that doesn’t necessarily mean the case is
going to get resolved at mediation but that we’re going to make an
attempt and we’re going to go as soon as we possibly can.
I explain that the attempt to mediate is not a sign of weakness …