Friday, March 28, 2014

How do you Get an Honest Evaluation of Liability?

One of the most valuable reasons to have private caucuses before bargaining begins in mediation is to ferret out how strongly each lawyer feels about their client's case.  These are discussions that are rarely included in the legal briefs.  A friend and awesome mediator, Gig Kyriacou, says he asks each side to anticipate the other's strongest points.  In doing that, he is able to learn early on what each side perceives their weakest point to be.
I find that most lawyers have carefully and deliberately evaluated their chances of success at trial, but have never communicated their weak points to their clients and certainly never would concede them to the opposing counsel.  Enter the mediator's world!  How do you get an honest evaluation from the lawyers in mediation or settlement discussions?