April 18, 2011 Articles

Resolving Cases Early: Effective Negotiation and Mediation Strategies

Techniques for resolving a case early are often casually disregarded

By David T. Lopez

It may sound obvious, and even intuitive, but techniques for resolving a case early are often casually disregarded. Trial lawyers, after all, thrive on advocacy, but for many and increasing reasons, there needs to be more focus on lawyers acting as problem solvers.

Effectively addressing a problem begins with the initial contact with a client. In determining the facts underlying a claim or defense, and considering the applicable law, sufficient time also must be dedicated to exploring the client's desires and attempting to establish at least a general outline of a goal.

A client might need to vent the understandable emotional aspects of the situation, but a simple and direct question might start a movement toward practical reality. “If it were within your power to bring about the ideal solution to the situation, what would it be?” Many times a response will be as modest and reasonable as it is going to get in the course of the case. If it is not realistic, it might be necessary to discuss the time and expense that might be involved, the risk inherent in all cases, and the fact that most cases end up settled outside of the courtroom.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now