Never say “never”

That line is ever so true in dispute resolution. I have had mediations begin with the indication from one or both sides that “we’re just here because we have to mediate first in order to get a trial setting.” That is the requirement in the local courts, and in many across Texas.

Undaunted, I flail away at the issues and obstacles until — almost always — the dispute is resolved. I am convinced that most people really do want their controversy resolved. There may be a lot of reasons for the lawsuit in the first place, but in time there come to be far more reasons to settle than to continue.

Litigation is a participation sport, so to speak. The client has to be involved and do a lot of work. When I was in practice I was quick to tell the client that they had to be heavily involved and not to expect to just toss their file on my desk and wait to show up at the trial. The work, anxiety, expense and, most of all, the uncertainty, are reasons to mediate.

The work is not over when you come for help in resolving your dispute, but there is nothing more satisfying than to walk away at the end of the day with a signed, binding agreement in hand and the uncertainty has evaporated.

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