In this episode, Zinda Law Group CEO and founder, Jack Zinda, gives you quick tips on what to do when attending your first personal injury mediation.
Discussed in this Episode:
What is my objective?
Who’s going to attend mediation?
Understand your case’s value
Preparing your Client for Mediation
Be prepared to walk away at the right time
What is My Objective?
Jack lays out his three reasons for mediation: 1. To gather information 2. To set the defense up to resolve the case 3. To resolve the case. Mediation doesn’t necessarily mean resolution, but by having everyone involved in the case in the same room, you can make a lot of progress towards a final result.
Who’s Going to Attend Mediation?
Get in writing who’s going to be attending in order to understand what level of authority the various participants have. Reference that lit against local rules to further your understanding of what leverage you may have.
Understand Your Case’s Value
If your case is high value, there are often additional steps needed before beginning a mediation. The defendant may need higher authority to approve a certain amount of money and not communicating those numbers beforehand will only delay a resolution. There are many ways to decide on a value, but once you do, stick to it and be decisive.
Preparing Your Client for Mediation
The client’s role in mediation is to listen and take instruction from you as their lawyer. In order to keep them feeling comfortable and even able to hold a “poker face”, running them through the order of proceedings is important. Always remember that there is no such thing as over-preparing your client. If you feel that your client needs more time or more practice, don’t hesitate to offer it.
Be Prepared to Walk Away at the Right Time
Walking away is a tool to help facilitate a result. Knowing when the defendant is bluffing or doesn’t have the means to fulfill your request can help maintain leverage. Once this has happened the case can resolve in two ways: 1. The mediator’s proposal. Where the mediator provides a number that they best believe can resolve the case and 2. Direct contact with the defense willing to reopen negotiations.