we have a special interest in mediation
Most courts in Montana require that all parties to litigation engage in mandatory mediation. For those courts that do not, it is still highly encouraged. We know, for those of us representing clients in the legal system, that substantial time and costs can be avoided when parties participate in the mediation process. We also know that mediation gives parties something that they will never receive from a Judge or Jury trial -- the power to control the outcome of their legal dispute and make their own decision about how to conclude it.
Here at Meridian Law, we have a special interest in mediation. We have ourselves participated, on clients' behalf, in countless mediations. We have seen the benefits of having a skilled mediator handling the negotiation process. A mediator who is familiar with the civil litigation process, as well as a probable outcome of a particular type of claim, can help educate an attorney's client on reasonable settlement value. In addition, skilled mediators can often convey information to clients about the weaknesses of their case more effectively than the attorney him/herself can -- as clients often want to see their attorney only in the role of advocate. Therefore, mediations can assist in setting reasonable expectations, even if the case itself does not settle at the mediation. This involves a unique skillset on the part of the mediator, distinct and different than when an attorney is acting as a litigator.
We have almost twenty years of legal practice in the State of Montana, in civil litigation, upon which we can rely in mediating a claim. We do not believe, however, that skill as a mediator comes solely from years of legal practice. Mediators must be able to quickly identify various factors that can impact a mediation, including types of personalities involved, who is present to negotiate ultimate settlement value, and strengths and weaknesses of a claim. The mediator must then be able to act in an empathetic, yet independent manner, in negotiating a possible resolution. The mediator's "relate-ability," we believe, is a critical factor in the parties' ability to trust the mediation process. During the course of our time handling civil litigation, we have worked hard to develop not just extensive legal knowledge and experience, but also the inherent skills needed to act as a successful negotiator. If you are an attorney looking to retain a mediator to handle your claim, we would be happy to discuss your clients' needs, their claim, and our knowledge in the particular area of law at issue. As we are with our clients, we will be candid about whether we believe we would be a "good fit" for your particular dispute. Our priority is, for you, a successful resolution of your dispute, before litigation and/or trial. If we are not the "right person" to handle your clients' mediation, we would be happy to discuss, based upon our experience, who would the best option as a mediator. and provide you that referral.