Saturday, November 04, 2006

A Long Day's Mediation...

An interesting and fairly typical mediation this week involved two individuals who have been entangled in their lawsuit for almost two years and who are facing a trial date this month.

In this case, each party paid half of my full day fees at 9:00 a.m. the morning of the mediation. By 9:30 a.m., one party's attorney told me that if we couldn't settle this case by noon, they were going to leave. I asked for a little flexibility on that due to the complex nature of some of the issues. I said that we would be making progress by noon, but we were not likely to have a final agreement on all issues from three hours of mediation on a case that had been battled in court for two years.

By 1:30 in the afternoon, both parties were threatening to walk out of the mediation because of the demands of the other party. One of the reasons the parties stayed was that they both understood they had already paid for my services for the full day and that they might as well get the benefit of what they had already paid for. The other reason is that their attorneys both recognized that progress was indeed being made and that this was going to take some work by all of us to accomplish a workable solution to the entire case.

By 4:30 p.m., the attorneys began getting creative with settlement options and we turned a corner in the negotiations.

By 6:30 p.m., the settlement agreement had been prepared by the attorneys and signed by the parties and their attorneys. I congratulated the parties and their counsel and commended everyone for their hard work. It was a long day, but a productive and successful day for everyone involved.

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