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The power of mediation

December 8, 2011

A number of years ago, I was involved, as counsel, in litigation that had gone on for years.  I had conducted a dozen or more trials by that time in my legal career, but I’d never been part of a mediation process.

After many years of such warfare, the lawyer for the other party said let’s try mediation.  I didn’t know the mediator the other lawyer had proposed, but since my client had already spent much time and money, I decided it couldn’t hurt.

It turned out that we had in fact retained a highly skilled mediator, and after 3 hours of bargaining, with her help, the parties settled the dispute – and shook hands.  It was an amazing sight to behold.  Those two had been at it for almost a decade.  The trick was that both needed to be heard.  The mediator heard them, and she ensured that they heard each other.  After that, it was just about a small amount of money changing hands, and the dispute was finally over.

It was at that point that I recognized how powerful mediation can be, with the right mediator.

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