Great Expectations

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 21, 2010 in The 2L Life | Subscribe

That’s what I had for this whole mediating thing, great expectations.

Then I actually did it :beatup:

Today was Day 3 of Superior Court Mediation training, and my first in the “hot seat” mediating a mock dispute. The plaintiff was a contractor who built a brick patio and gazebo for a client, who then refused to pay. The contractor had selected the wrong color brick at the outset… but the client approved it. Then when the project was done, the client complained about the color and insisted it be fixed. The contractor agreed to replace the facade for an additional $8K or so, to which the client agreed, and then the client refused to pay when the second set of work was actually done.

Both sides were adamant in not wanting to budge much to narrow what was essentially a $12K gap between their respective demands. The clients in particular were the combative / argumentative types who didn’t like the idea of thinking about things from the other’s shoes or listening to the advice of their respective attorneys.

We ran out of time 1.5 hours later without reaching a resolution, though we were 15-20ish minutes away from reaching a settlement. In the post-exercise debriefing session, I found out that I was very balanced overall…

…because both parties thought I had taken the other’s side1 :beatup:

The whole experience was odd because it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, even though my background in lobbying and politics was going to make it comparably easier (so I thought) because of the experience forging compromise among people with different personalities and moods. Naïveté FTL.

Maybe it’s just because this wasn’t a “real life” case, but damn that was rough. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

Have a great night y’all! :)

  1. For the non-lawyers: basically the exact opposite of the perception they were supposed to have []

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