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Mediation: Double Your Pleasure!

Posted by attorney Matthew Krupnick
Filed under: Arbitration

Every attorney knows how rewarding it feels to successfully litigate a case and to obtain great result for their client. A good attorney puts his or her heart and soul into every case from the moment the attorney takes the case until the time it is over. Achieving a successful outcome by an attorney in a litigated case involves ongoing strategizing, planning, resources, diligence, courage, talent, stamina, creativity, skillful execution of all steps, personality (whichever type may be appropriate for the particular case) assurance that each move made in in the case is furtherance of the ultimate goal of achieving the best result possible result for the client. As such, when the great settlement is achieved, the client is ecstatic and the attorney will either be bombarded by appreciation from the client, or will have to accept the tremendous personal satisfaction of knowing the great settlement you created for your client. Throughout the litigation process, most courts and most parties will push for efforts to settle the case, and a good mediator can make the difference between settling a case or letting a case go to trial, which nowadays, is almost never the best choice for both parties. A good mediation should be able to settle most cases, so that even in the most contentious of cases all parties can walk away knowing that they had the final say in how their case ended and that they truly got the best, safe deal possible through mediation. And even though it is often said that a successful mediation results in both parties walking away feeling equally happy and unhappy, the truth is that the parties to a case generally do not settle their case at mediation unless they are happy with the result after having taken into account all of the possible outcomes if they chose to walk away from the mediation without settling and proceeding to trial or arbitration. Everyone knows that it is virtually impossible to predict the outcome of any case if the fate of the case is left to a trier of fact (especially a jury). A good mediator can put any case to rest and happily watch the parties shake hands and then part ways knowing that they (through the counsel of their hopefully great attorney) made the best decision in light of all of the facts and issues relevant to their case. Similarly, a good mediator walks away from a successful mediation knowing that he or she helped bring about a mutually agreeable conclusion to an inevitably costly, risky, contentious and stressful conflict in which but for settling at mediation (or another A.D.R. process) the parties would have continued to spend large (sometimes astronomical) amounts of money on attorneys fees, litigation costs, and for at least one party, a potential judgment. Then of course there can always be appeals as well. Therefore, as great as it feels to achieve a great result for one's client at trial for example, a mediator gets to enjoy double the pleasure and satisfaction in knowing the he or she helped resolve a painful conflict for two parties, or sometimes even multiple parties, depending on the case. The point being that while achieving a settlement at mediation takes incredible skill (including litigation skills, knowledge of the subject matter being litigated, dispute resolution skills, and people skills), craft, patience and dedication, the rewards are immeasurable. You have brought peace and resolution to a dispute that has likely consumed all parties involved for over one year and sometimes much longer. As a practicing attorney who litigates a wide variety of cases as part of my practice, I can speak from my extensive experience, both in litigation and other areas of the law, as well as my experience as a mediator, when I say that, as a mediator with a clear understanding of the costs, risks, headache, stress, fear and the sheer unknown as to what the jury (or trier of fact) will decide, settling a case for the parties involved as a mediator is perhaps the most fulfilling and rewarding part of practicing law for me (and that is not taking into account the lucrative career that well-known, excellent mediators enjoy by conducting mediations). Don't get me wrong, I love litigation and I love fighting for my clients to get them the best result possible, including fighting the case through trial by a trier of fact or even beyond trial through appeals. But there is something even more rewarding about spending a day (or however long it takes) to help parties that are in the midst of painful and expensive conflict come to an agreement that takes away the risks, costs, unpredictability of the outcome of the case, and all of the stress that inevitably comes with going to trial. Often, even when achieving a truly exceptional settlement that is equally fair and beneficial to all parties, the parties do not walk away with ear to ear smiles. But that's OK. A good mediator who is experienced in litigating the type of case that is being mediated knows in his or her heart what a great thing that has been accomplished in bringing the conflict to an end. And hopefully, all attorneys involved in the mediation process that represent the parties have and will continue to reassure the parties that resolving a case at mediation with a good mediator is unarguably the best way to resolve a case in almost every situation.

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