The attorney selected for your case is critical to the outcome. If the other party retained a “bulldog”, aggressive attorney, the chances for mediation are slim. You will need to match the intensity of the aggressive, litigating attorney. This will be a VERY EXPENSIVE and DESTRUCTIVE process. I know very few people who enjoy the “win”. In fact, you can win the battle but lose the war.
As a mediator, I cultivate relationships with cooperative, or collaborative, attorneys. A cooperative attorney will fully represent you. He or she will also advise you about the costs, not only financially, but relationally, of litigation. Cooperative attorneys can become agitated with one another, yet they keep the best interest of his or her client in mind. I just settled a case involving two cooperative attorneys. A good mediator can help resolve issues between attorneys as well as clients. There were moments in the case where I needed to help each attorney reflect on the current pathway and help problem solve with creative options.
Collaborative attorneys are actually trained in the collaborative practice. Thus, you need to ask if he or she has received training training. Attorneys, clients, and mediator all sit at the same table. A collaborative agreement is signed by all, defining the process and scope of work. Other professionals may be brought in as needed. As a client, you are fully represented, yet both attorneys are literally working for both clients seeking a peaceful and sustainable resolution. The process can still be expensive, yet less costly than litigation.
In mediation, I often need to send people to an attorney for a legal consultation. Mediation is based upon informed consent, thus understanding your legal rights is critical. Sometimes, clients wish to get an initial consultation before commencing mediation. Others will wait until several legal questions arise from the mediation process, then consult with an attorney for very precise counsel.
Therefore, when picking an attorney, you need to know WHY you need an attorney, HOW you will use the attorney, and WHAT you expect from your attorney. Genesis Mediation offers a FREE 15 minute consultation, and we would be happy to help you understand how an attorney would interact with your case, and if needed, give you a number of attorneys to interview. We will be honest with you about if your case should be mediated or litigated and point you to the appropriate attorney to match your need. And yes, you should interview several attorneys before selecting the one to represent you.