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Christian Petrucci of the Law Offices of Christian Petrucci. Christian Petrucci of the Law Offices of Christian Petrucci.

Reading the title of this article might lead one to conclude that whatever is discussed is of little importance since everyone likes to believe they know the mediation process inside and out and that they have wonderful relationships with their clients. It is those very people who may benefit from reading it. Since mediation is so informal and can become mundane to the practitioner, there may be a perception that preparation and client communication are less important prior to a mediation than a hearing on the merits of the claim. I submit that the exact opposite is true. This is the one time where attorney and client will spend perhaps hours together, discussing everything from the nuances of the case to their children’s baseball practices. One should not take for granted that the client has any idea what is going on or is any less intimidated by the process. Equally important is not passing up the opportunity to make the best possible impression in the most revealing forum.

The attorney who is better prepared and, in turn, has gone over the mediation process with the client in detail will get the most out of the mediation, even if the case does not settle. The bond that is created with a client by communicating empathy and concern through one’s communication, preparation and presentation is invaluable to the final outcome of either mediation or litigation. Preparation is not limited to a command of the numbers and facts of a particular case. Perhaps more important is the insight the client receives from the attorney into the idiosyncracies of the judge, the opposing attorney and the employer or insurer.

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