How Mediation is Beneficial to Attorneys
Unusual topic, isn’t it? How could someone saving your client, who would pay hundreds of dollars in attorney fees, be beneficial to you (an attorney)? Read on to find your answers.
Definition of Mediation
Mediation one form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to a lawsuit which is facilitated by a neutral third party that will not decide or impose an action on the case.
Unlike other ADRs, the mediator’s job is to guide bother parties in reaching a conclusion and not to make the decision for them. Discussions in mediation are not binding on either party, unless they reach an agreement and it is written into a binding agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Most people go for mediation rather than litigation, especially because of its time and cost saving benefits. Imagine you have a wrongful dismissal case; you could spend at least $50,000 just for taking the lawsuit up to trial. With mediation, however; you may not spend $1,000. The matter could be resolved in one meeting rather than months of arguing.
Cases Appropriate for Mediation
Not all cases that are appropriate for mediation, although, virtually all cases can be handled through mediation. Cases where parties cannot seem to agree on relatively simple things are perfect for mediation. This is where the mediator comes in to elaborate everyone’s position and clear misunderstandings.
While most people listen to respond, mediators listen to understand.
Cases appropriate for mediation include personal injury and tort cases, company and shareholders or investors, business disputes, family disputes, divorce, breach of contract, employer and employee issues, wrongful termination, and many more. On the other hand, cases that may not be not appropriate for mediation include criminal cases, immigration cases or where there is coercion.
Even the US Government is using mediation in cases such as bankruptcy, foreclosure and minor criminal cases where youth or restorative justice have more benefits than judicial intervention. Even the State of Texas has placed criminal cases before a mediator and many countries use mediation as to find a balance without upsetting cultural or religious edicts.
Benefits of Mediation to Attorneys
While some attorneys view mediators as a competitor, the facts are; mediators are not stealing away clients but rather improving client relations and increasing attorneys bottom line. We have seen law firms increase 10% – 20% by using third party neutrals early on in their cases.
This has not been a fluke as many studies have shown mediation resolves cases quicker for less money, which makes clients return to their legal counsel and happily refer potential clients to their legal counsel.
Higher Chance of Success for Weak Cases
Nearly all attorneys have come across those lawsuits with weak claims and little chance of succeeding in court. The courts run on statutes, rules and precedents rather than emotions, so, a plaintiff would not sway the court, if the claim cannot stand facts.
Attorneys who encounter such cases can now give the client a ray of hope by referring them to mediation. Mediation does not operate on such strict rules as the courts. So, rather than a big fat loss in court, your client could be granted some reliefs through a mediated settlement.
Faster Resolution Means Happy Clients
Generally, clients simply rush to their lawyer whenever a legal dispute is involved. Most have no idea whether their cases would be more appropriate for mediation. As an attorney, it is also a mark of professionalism when you inform your clients about the option of mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods as-well-as court litigation.
A client is never thrilled to have a pending lawsuit (Plaintiff or Defendant). Everyone always looks forward to the end of the long tortuous legal journey. You can thus imagine the joy you would bring to your clients by referring them to mediation, a much faster process that could concludes their disputes.
Happy Clients Means Better Referrals
Marketers will tell you: “your best marketing is a satisfied client”. At no cost and without even requesting for it, a happy client will refer other legal clients to you, whether they may be looking for your legal services or not. When clients believe they received the best outcome, whether settlement or ruling, leave satisfied and thus tell several people. This is more valuable than ads on prime-time television.
Better Referrals Means More Fees
I’m sure you’ll love this. After satisfying a client with a faster resolution to a dispute, while losing some attorney fees, you might have been wondering; did I do the right thing? Yes, you did. You’ll recoup those fees from awesome referrals the happy client will send your way.
Moreover, as your client’s attorney, while you have the option to participate or not to participate in the mediation process, you could be called upon to draft the final agreement or review what’s prepared.
Furthermore, when you are recognized as keeping the best interest of your client as your priority, you open your client base four-fold. Now clients involved with a negotiation, mediation, arbitration or litigation come to you as they know your guidance is rock solid.