Comments: From Advocate to Advisor: The Role of the Lawyer in Mediation

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John A. Fiske, Cambridge MA     10/19/10
From Advocate to Advisor
Dear Michael: For a month I have been looking for time to applaud your article and add reinforcement from the Rules of Professional Conduct for Lawyers. Lawyers who think they always have to be "zealous advocates" should read the rules. In Mass, our Rules begin with the following: "As a representative of clients, a lawyer performs various functions. As advisor, a lawyer provides a client with an informed understanding of the client's legal rights and obligations and explains their practical implications." That's a good definition of what I the mediator hope the lawyer for the husband or the wife will be doing. As mediator, I often encourage the advisory lawyer to read the rules. The lawyer does not have to fear criticism for advocating settlement. What you are writing is very important, realistic and useful. Thanks, John

Les Lane, Melbourne VI     10/07/10
Enjoyed the article. As a non lawyer mediator of some 17 years now it is always useful to reflect on roles of lawyers in mediation and this article sets out the parameters very well and simply. A lawyer following these steps is a great asset to the mediation process and assists the mediator in knowing parties have a good understanding of what is in their best interests and what isn't.