Civil Negotiation and Mediation by Nancy Hudgins
J. Anderson Little, a North Carolina mediator with 20 years of experience in civil litigation mediation, has written a terrific book on mediation called Making Money Talk: How to Mediate Insured Claims and Other Monetary Disputes.
Initially Andy introduces the reader to a typical rear-ender case. After 12 rounds of proposals, the parties settled.
“At the end, the participants signed the agreement, wrote their checks, said their good-byes, and went their separate ways. Their interaction was courteous but stiff. Although an agreement had been reached at mediation, no one was particularly happy with the settlement or the difficulty with which it was reached.”
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for [plaintiff]. He would not have an opportunity to see or speak with the people on the defendant’s team again…. “
“The members of the defense team were professionals. For them, this was just one more automobile accident, one more claim, and one more negotiation.”
This captures the essence of personal injury litigation mediations. Andy argues that facilitative mediators can play a productive role in these types of “one-off” cases where it’s likely the parties will not see each other again.
“In the position-based bargaining that goes on in a civil trial court mediation, the mediator’s chief aim is to help the parties overcome their reactivity, refrain from stopping prematurely in reaction to the other side’s proposals or in reaction to their own pessimism about the prospects of settlement, make thoughtful rather than reactive proposals, and continue moving through ranges until they reach their best numbers or are sure that their best numbers will not settle the case.”
Andy outlines a method to help hard bargaining lawyers or their clients get out of their own way so their case can settle.
This is not just a book for mediators. It’s a book for every lawyer involved in civil litigation mediation. Gain insights into negotiation strategies that can improve your mediated outcomes. Since less than 2% of cases go to trial, the acquisition of mediation skills can help you shine as a lawyer.
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