In an effort to maximize the opportunity to prevail at trial, attorneys and clients spend a considerable amount of time preparing their arguments, trial exhibits and testimony. That same level of preparation should be devoted to mediation.
To attempt to maximize the opportunity to resolve a controversy, especially on the most acceptable feasible terms, preparation for mediation is absolutely essential. Neglecting to prepare can constitute a grave error, because an opportunity to terminate a dispute may be lost and favorable settlement terms might subsequently not be available.
So many times attorneys and parties treat mediation very nonchalantly. Frequently, mediation is viewed as a preliminary stage in dispute resolution imposed by a contract or court order that is dealt with very perfunctorily, rather than with the attention to detail and planning that must accompany every serious attempt to resolve a dispute.
To maximize the effectiveness of mediation as a procedure to foster resolution of disputes, attorneys and clients must meet, plan and give thoughtful consideration to the goals that they seek to achieve. After establishing those goals, attorneys and clients must devise the strategy that will be employed to reach those objectives.
Obviously, meetings between counsel and client are absolutely essential for preparation for mediation. Less obvious, however, is a preparatory meeting with another person trained as a mediator. Conferring with another mediator and having that person review a draft of the mediation statement and any related material can be invaluable. At a conference with a surrogate mediator, the attorney and client can present a dry run of the opening statement, responses to questions likely to be posed by a mediator, the presentation of a settlement proposal and the evolution of the proposal as anticipated responses are made by the other participating parties. At the conclusion of the session, the surrogate mediator can critique the approach to mediation that was taken by the attorney and client and suggest adjustments to the presentation and the negotiating strategy that was employed. As a result of that preparatory session, the attorney and client will be better able to maximize a live mediation session to advance their objectives of not only resolving the dispute, but also doing so on the most favorable terms.
This is an exercise that is well worth the investment of time and money. Because mediation is a much more interactive process than a trial or arbitration hearing, it is absolutely essential to simulate the human dynamics associated with interacting with a mediator. That exercise can permit the attorney and client to adjust their approach to mediation and the presentation of their case. Most importantly, the surrogate mediator will be able to offer guidance that could maximize the opportunity to conclude mediation successfully.
William Wolf can assist attorneys and their clients in that critical phase of the mediation process. More than 150 matters have been referred to Mr. Wolf as a mediator, arbitrator and special master. He has also represented numerous clients in mediation. That background together with his experience as a trial and appellate advocate make Mr. Wolf particularly suited to assist attorneys and their clients in preparing for mediation.
Mr. Wolf, who is a partner in the law firm of Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf, P.C., Lakewood, New Jersey, has been reappointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to serve on the Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution.
Mr. Wolf concentrates his practice on commercial litigation, land development, including municipal land use approvals and mediation. Mr. Wolf’s practice has a particular emphasis on the representation of parties in complex litigation.
Mr. Wolf is a graduate of The College of The Holy Cross, the University of Chicago and Syracuse University.
Mr. Wolf is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia. He is also admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the Second and Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the Southern and Eastern District of New York, and the United States Court of International Trade.
Mr. Wolf holds a peer reviewed AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, designation as a Super Lawyer and is a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.
by William J. Wolf
A business does not simply consist of service providers and producers of products. Instead, a business is comprised of a myriad of personal relationships involving customers, employers, shareholders and partners. It is those relationships that generate disputes which frequently can be resolved through mediation rather than civil litigation.
A medical practice, although comprised of highly trained professionals who focus on providing unique services, is no different from other businesses. The stresses and strains associated with providing a high level of patient care can generate disputes with patients, employees, hospitals, suppliers and insurance companies. Moreover, evolving objectives and aspirations of the members of a medical practice can be the cause of friction that sometimes cannot be resolved internally.
Mediation frequently offers a more satisfactory method, rather than civil litigation, for resolving such disputes. Mediation is less expensive than civil litigation. More importantly, mediation minimizes the hidden costs that characterize civil litigation. The time of a busy medical professional is best devoted to serving patients rather than dealing with all of the diversions associated with civil litigation. Most importantly, mediation can limit the emotional drain and anxiety that is frequently involved with civil litigation.
Because mediation is a private enterprise, disclosure of the sensitive details of the relationships that characterize a medical practice can be avoided. Due to the flexible nature of mediation sessions, a schedule can be developed that minimizes the impact on a busy medical practice.
If you would like to discuss the benefits of mediation for a dispute arising from a medical practice or any other dispute that might result in civil litigation, please contact William Wolf. Mr. Wolf is an experienced mediator who has assisted professionals in resolving their disputes; thus, saving the time, money and emotion that is associated with civil litigation.
by William J. Wolf
As every litigant and trial attorney knows, litigation can be time consuming and very expensive. Various programs, procedures and techniques have been developed in an effort to reduce those almost inevitable consequences of litigation. Known collectively as alternative dispute resolution “ADR”, those alternatives to litigation encompass various approaches to resolving disputes including arbitration and mediation. Arbitration, although usually quicker than litigation, has many of the shortcomings associated with litigation. Mediation, therefore, often provides a better option because it is quick, less expensive, flexible and, most important, non-binding.
Unlike litigation, mediation involves procedures for resolving a controversy in a less adversarial forum. Mediation provides the parties with an opportunity to work collectively toward a joint resolution of a dispute. During the mediation process a trained and experienced mediator engages each party and their attorneys in a dialogue, usually in a confidential setting, regarding their objectives and aspirations. As part of that dialogue the mediator and the parties, together with their attorneys, discuss various alternative means of reaching a resolution of the dispute.
by William J. Wolf
It is difficult to imagine that Seaside could have been dealt two devastating blows in less than a year. What is more compelling are the parallels between the fire that recently ravaged Seaside and the Long Branch pier fire.
Mr. Wolf, Senior Partner of Bathgate Wegner & Wolf, P.C. (“BWW”), is intimately aware of those parallels. Bill was a long-time summer resident of the Park and he worked the Boards and Beach in Seaside for many years. Many of his friends and relatives live, work and have business interests in Seaside.
More importantly, Mr. Wolf provided legal representation to many of the business owners in Long Branch after that horrible fire destroyed their businesses. Mr. Wolf worked with other BWW lawyers and a consortium of other law firms, in litigating that fire and brought the case to trial ultimately resulting in settlement for his clients.
Mr. Wolf is available to consult with any person whose business, property or livelihood has been damaged by the Seaside Fire. For consultation please call Mr. Wolf at 732-363-0666.
by William J. Wolf
Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf