The Closer

A Mediation Newsletter January 2011

Mediation Dollars and Sense
by James Rainwater

To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln from over 150 years ago: Avoid litigation; convince parties to compromise whenever possible because the nominal winner is often the real loser in view of the resources expended. Those words are as true today, if not truer. And the logic applies to cases of any size.

Consider all that goes into trial preparation - the financial costs, the time spent, and the anxiety created. Mediation presents a direct way to find resolution and closure. With most cases being ordered to mediation, all parties need to give full credence to the possibility of settlement.

A recent question presented to me involved two parties and a stalled business transaction. Due to some major miscommunication between the parties, the buyer believed he had paid off the remainder of the balance due. The seller had made a mistake regarding the final balance due that was printed on a statement.

The actual difference was approximately $10,000.00. Neither party wanted to compromise and meet half-way. How much sense will it make to proceed to litigation and possibly trial? The parties will likely spend at least half the disputed dollar amount on legal fees.

To re-quote Abe, the nominal winner is often the real loser. Regardless of the scale of dispute, a mediated settlement will usually conserve the resources of money, time, and peace of mind. Mediation should be the first advised course of action to clients. Rather than focus on the confrontation, we should adjust our sights on the possibility of compromise, to attempt settling the matter before it becomes a case. Give consideration to mediation before a judge orders it. You can save more than just paperwork. You can save your client's wellbeing.

Rainwater Law