September 01, 2018 Feature

Leave Some Trial Skills at the Mediation Door

Success in mediation requires a different approach than in trial.

Frederick P. Alimonti

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Today, 29 years since my law school graduation, I practice in a different universe. Who could have known it then, but the trial-centric model on which much of legal education was based would be largely obsolete within a decade, and decaying within two.

Advances in technology have changed the course of litigation and inextricably led to the rise of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation prevails as the new normal.

I entered law school in 1986. Technology was at its inception. We still went to the library. We read legal encyclopedias and longed for an on-point American Law Report annotation on our issue. Lexis and Westlaw used seemingly impenetrable codes, which we entered while sitting before a blank screen with a blinking command prompt.

It was but a hint of what would come. Internet use and digitized data storage have cascaded into litigation like a virtual avalanche. Data, metadata, and gigabytes of digital information appear in all but the simplest of cases.

So, what did this mean for the litigator?

And what about the client contemplating litigation?

Simple. For both, it meant $$$$!

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