Letter to Client Before Mediation
For many of our clients, the decision they make at their settlement mediation will be the single biggest financial decision they will ever make. It is important to make sure they are comfortable with the mediation process.
This is a sample of a letter we send to our clients before a mediation. Every single point in the letter is something we went over with the client before this correspondence was sent and we will go over again before the mediation. But it helps to put it in writing as well.Sample Letter
Confirming our communication over this past weekend, please meet me tomorrow November 9, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at Miller & Zois for our settlement mediation session.
Again, our mediator is Judge Michael D. Davis, a retired Baltimore City judge and prosecutor I have known for 20 years. He is a fair and practical guy and I think you will like him.
Now the point of this mediation session is to try to resolve the case, but do not be surprised if your case does not settle. I do not think that it will. As you know, the defense is contesting responsibility, saying that Angie was speeding and cut off the dump truck. Despite all this, the defense probably will make some sort of settlement offer tomorrow because they have agreed to pay for the mediation and because of the severity of your injuries.
While I think the right tact is to approach the mediation session with optimism, we should not be in a ‘rush’ to settle the case. We will have at least one more ‘formal’ opportunity to settle at the pretrial conference on December 15th and, of course, we can engage in informal settlement negotiations at any time between now and the trial date, which won’t be even be selected until the time of that pretrial conference.
The mediation session tomorrow will serve us well though: the defense will be compelled to offer something and that is an important ‘first step’ when liability has been denied. The judge/mediator will probably address the entire group at 9:00, and then will split us up in two separate rooms. In our room will be you and me. In the other room will be the defense attorney and the insurance adjuster Northland Insurance. I don't expect the dump truck driver, Mr. Kintock, will appear. The insurance company is the one calling the shots in terms of how much money is offered.
The mediator will shuttle between the rooms conveying settlement demands and settlement offers…..this process will continue until such time as the case settles or until one or the other of the parties indicates that they do not wish to proceed further. Usually, a mediation in a case of this size can last all day even though
You do not need to bring anything to the mediation session. I will have all the documents we need (you have seen the size of your file!). As I indicated over the weekend, I will do most of the talking at the mediation, although you will certainly speak with the mediator and I encourage you to do so. I want him to see what a very nice person you are – and what a good witness you would be at trial.
The only think I want you to be remind you of, and we will talk about this tomorrow, is that you should be emotionless when settlement offers are communicated to us. Their first offer could be a pittance and it could be seven figures. Either way, do not react to the offer until we have had a chance to discuss it.
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Alex. If you have any concerns, questions or any last minute questions, give me a call at the office or on my cell phone.
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Ronald V. Miller, Jr.