Posted by a Commercial Real Estate client
I have recently engaged Mr. Bell to represent my firm and myself in a complex case that was already scheduled for a mandatory mediation before the Federal Court at the time he was engaged, The preparation of the firm for the mediation was turned over to his associate Mr. Jim Mahoney who informed us that he had another client he was representing in a mediation before the same Magistrate. Mr. Mahoney repeatedly came to the mediation without sufficient preparation, and in conrtrast to the lawyers representing our adversaries, had no opening statement ready. During the mediation he offered nothing to support our position, but pressed for a settlement on the terms offered by the other parties. A frame work for a preliminary settlement was worked out, but I felt that it was not in our best interest to accept the settlement without making certain important adjustments. When I informed Mr. Mahoney of my feelings, they said unless we went along with the proposed settlement he would quit representing me. I informed Mr. Bell that Mr. Mahoney was not advocating our position, but rather advocating for a settlement, even though the terms were injurious to us. Mr. Bell reluctantly continued to negotiate on our behalf and the terms were dramatically improved. However, at a critical juncture, Mr. Bell refused to support our position and undertook to compel us to accept a mediation that we didn't want. When we refused, he gave us an ultimatum that unless we accepted their advice he would withdraw from the case which he did, even though we asked him to stay on as we were very near a settlement and to change lawyers would be costly and time consuming. It was apparent that their firm, Griffiths and Jacobs, were more concerned with pleasing the Magistrate then they were advocating for their clients. Working with them turned out to be extremely costly and has jeopardized our position in the case.