Lawyers have mixed opinions about the utility and wisdom of using graphic visual aids in mediation. Some don’t want to put that much work into preparation for mediation, assuming it is a waste of time. Indeed, sometimes a party representative on the other side pointedly refuses to look at a visual presentation. Such boorishness should not deter advocates from doing their best work. Other lawyers prefer to “keep their powder dry,” reserving their best tricks for trial or defer spending more time and money on a case that may settle in mediation.
However, only a tiny fraction of litigated cases go to trial. For most, mediation is the closest a client has to a cathartic day in court. Mediation is increasingly the best opportunity for obtaining an optimal outcome. Saving the best stuff for trial may be an expensive mistake. However, it is understandable for creative trial lawyers to hold back a uniquely devastating closing argument until the end of a rare jury trial.
It is conventional wisdom that people retain 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see. That applies as much to lawyers, claims professionals, and mediators as to school children and jurors. A strong visual presentation at mediation may help you obtain optimal results at mediation. The lawyer may equip the neutral mediator to help you in the other room and convince decision-makers on the other side that you will be even more persuasive at trial. Your client may feel you have done a dynamic job providing a “day in court” at mediation.
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