Updated: Mar 24, 2019
By Sam Robinson, Jr.
As an attorney, I spent years learning to listen to and counsel people embroiled in disputes as to how to best reach fair resolutions in their cases. As a mediator working for the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, I was trained to regard both sides of a dispute impartially and evenhandedly, as clients of the State of Tennessee. The transition from lawyering to mediating required dropping what all good lawyers are trained to do—be a fierce advocate for the best interest of their client. Actually, let me rephrase that: it required thinking about what was best for both sides in the full context of knowing each of their stories and perspectives intimately. While good attorneys consider the other side and guide their clients to make choices that are not just about getting the most money possible, as a mediator, I have full access to understand what each party really needs to reach resolution.
What this means to other attorneys is that they can help their clients come to a resolution quickly that is in their client’s best interest, avoids the emotional trauma and costs of going to trial, and generally results in happier clients because they have control of the process. This may be why the American Arbitration Associates found that 85% of all mediations result in a settlement.
Mediations also help attorneys--the more clients that can be served affordably and expeditiously, the more people will turn to attorneys for help. The ABA recently estimated that at least 75% of people in need of legal services fail to reach out to an attorney today. Making expedient resolution a priority can help attorneys grow their practice as well.
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