The truth of the matter is that court time is an increasingly scarce commodity, and few individual litigants can actually afford to fund a full-blown trial, so lawyers are turning more and more to the other dispute resolution tools in their toolbox. One of the most effective is mediation.
A more typical day in the life of a family lawyer will find her camped in either a law firm boardroom or a ‘breakout’ room, together with her client, and many, many boxes of paper, the results of months of effort prying financial and corporate data, bank records, social media posts and emails from the other side, deep in discussion with a mediator.
Mediation is simply assisted negotiation. The assistance being provided by an independent lawyer with specialized mediation training, who is hired jointly by the parties. The concept is that all the decision makers on both sides are gathered together, pledged to make an honest stab at resolving matters, and then locked down until a result is achieved, with the mediator shuttling back and forth to convey information and proposals.
A lawyer needs more than a flair for oratory or the ability to conduct a withering cross-examination, in order to effectively advocate for a client in a mediation setting. Mediation is part ‘horse trading’ and part bluffing, for sure, but in larger part it is creative problem solving, with no opportunity to showcase traditional courtroom skills. Crafting a solution that all parties can live with requires the ability to analyse the wants and needs of all parties, and to craft proposals that meet those needs ( and the stamina to endure long hours with bad coffee and stale pastries, as the parties inch towards a compromise.)
Darnell Law Group has fully embraced mediation as a far more cost-effective method of resolving family disputes, and all of our senior lawyers have received specialized mediation training. Rebecca Darnell and Emerald Chinna, in addition to representing clients in mediation are also certified family mediators, and are regularly engaged by their peers in order to act as family mediators
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