The Role of Empathy in Settlement

Empathy, the ability to see a situation from a different point of view, is an important negotiation and advocacy skill. You must be able to anticipate and understand your opponent’s position to effectively counter it. Debate trainers assign students to argue the position opposite their personal beliefs to foster this skill. I’m Fine. To Hell With […]

Quid Pro Quo in Negotiation

We’ve heard a lot about quid pro quo lately. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Quid pro quo is Latin for “this for that.” This is what negotiation is all about. In fact, the exchange of something of value, legally termed “consideration”, is a requirement for a contract to be valid. Settlement agreements are […]

Hello 2020

New Law on Settlement Agreements

A new California law effective January 1, 2020 governs settlement agreement language regarding employment dismissals and rehires. An employer and employee can still agree that a settlement includes termination of employment, but the agreement cannot include language that the person is barred from re-employment. The legislative history of AB749 shows that the motive behind the law was […]

JOY TO THE WORLD – LAW PARTNERS’ YEAR-END MEETING

Joy to The world! Year-end has come, Accounting has totaled the fees. Let ev’ry heart prepare him room And all of the partners sing And all of the partners sing And all, all of the partners sing Joy to the world! The year was good, And now divide the spoils. Misters Fields and Floods have […]

Knowledge Management

KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT – CREATING A MEDIATORS LIST Every organization should have a process for creating a collective memory. It’s called knowledge management. Knowledge management preserves team members’ experiences so everyone on that team can access them. This efficiency avoids mistakes and duplication of effort. Still, it is not uncommon for people considering mediation to send […]

Peace on Earth, Good Will to Men

You’re sure to hear this phrase repeatedly in December. What are you doing to make it happen? Most readers of this message are professionals charged with managing disputes. You may spend a considerable amount of time strategizing how to annul the opposing party’s claims. That’s appropriate. It’s your job. But what practically every party involved […]

Mediation Opening Statements

Times have changed. In the past, mediators would open a mediation by asking for opening statements from lawyers for each party. Problem was, though, these were typically so inflammatory that a meeting which was supposed to be about resolution started with animosity. Sometimes one side walked out right then, before the real mediation even started. That’s […]

The Importance of Facts

A big part of a mediator’s job is to elicit and isolate relevant facts. Then we can determine points of agreement and disagreement. Mediations come in two basic types: – Parties agree on the facts but disagree on how to interpret them – Parties disagree on the facts Model 1: We Agree on the Facts, […]