Mediation: Not If, But When and How: New Jersey Partner Elizabeth Lorell co-authored an article titled "Mediation: Not If, But When and How" that was recently published in the Winter 2010 edition of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel's quarterly newsletter. The article explains that the success of mediation depends not only on the choice of a skilled mediator but also on the sound judgment of respective counsel in planning for mediation, including when to attempt it and what protocols or ground rules to agree upon in advance. Advocates must bring to bear their wisdom and skill long before they walk into a conference room and shake hands with a mediator. Please click here to read the article.
The mandate from the board room is clear: Civil litigation has become an increasingly expensive and exhaustive prospect for all defendants. While no defendant wants to settle a case too early and pay more than a case is worth, corporate officers, in-house counsel, and insurance claims representatives must nonetheless answer to their respective shareholders for ever-increasing defense budgets. The mandate from the board room is clear: reduce defense costs without increasing corporate exposure to liability.
Non-binding mediation: Over the last decade, a variety of alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") procedures have come into vogue as methods to reduce litigation costs while maintaining reasonable limits on exposure to liability. Non-binding mediation, the most popular ADR technique, has been warmly embraced not only by corporate boards and in-house counsel, but also by their insurers, outside counsel, and even the courts. Indeed, most state and federal courts now routinely order cases to non-binding mediation and frequently have rosters of trained neutral mediators who will mediate a case at no cost or at a reduced rate. Mediation is also mandated by most circuit courts of appeal, where appropriate.