On an increasing basis, civil lawsuits are being settled outside the courtroom, during mediation. Magnus’ scientific analyses of case strengths and weaknesses, along with our insightful strategy recommendations, should be an integral part of every mediation experience. Magnus offers the following Mediation services:
Negotiation, bargaining, and persuasion are integral parts of all types of ADR. They are also key components of social psychology theory and practice, but are often not part of an attorney’s education or training. Magnus’ Director of Research, a social psychologist, coaches attorneys planning to resolve their case through ADR on optimum negotiation strategies.
In mock mediation research, Magnus recruits mediators who are not involved in the case at issue to participate in a research exercise designed to closely approximate the actual mediation. More than one mediator will be recruited to allow for multiple opinions and recommendations regarding the best strategies to employ during the actual mediation. Someone from the trial team role plays opposition counsel, demonstrative evidence is tested for effectiveness, and extensive individual and group interviews of the mediators are conducted.
Magnus is often retained prior to mediation to assist in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a case in anticipation of resolving a case at mediation. Prior to mediation, Magnus can employ one of several methodologies to explore case issues or to analyze the liability and damages positions. For plaintiffs, the favorableness of a settlement offer can be evaluated in comparison to conclusions reached by mock juries. For defendants, pre-mediation research can help determine whether the case at hand is one which should be settled (and for what damages range) or which might result in a defense verdict. Magnus has frequently been aware that clients’ expectations and attorneys’ expectations are out of alignment. Conducting pre-mediation research has engendered a favorable settlement to many cases because all the members of the team and the client are “on the same page.” In addition, negotiating leverage can be gained with the information from pre-mediation research. Magnus’ results (reports and deliberations videos) are often used during negotiations to educate opposing counsel regarding jurors’ reaction the case issues. Pre-mediation research gives the trial team and the client insights into the desirability of reaching a settlement, and, if the case is not resolved at mediation, the team is better prepared to move forward to trial.
Mediation rehearsal is similar to mock mediation with one important exception: Only the attorney who has retained Magnus is involved in presenting his/her case. In mediation rehearsal, mediators are permitted to ask questions and make suggestions to the attorney during an informal presentation. Magnus consults with the attorney, based on the outcome of the rehearsal and feedback from the mediators, with the goal of improving the presentation prior to the actual mediation.
Mediation coaching involves the attorney presenting his/her case to Magnus’ consultant, who will provide feedback, based on experience in numerous similar cases, to improve the attorney’s presentation for mock mediation research. Alternatively, mediation coaching exists as a stand alone service and is designed to improve the attorney’s presentation at the actual mediation.
Magnus’ consultants are available to attend the actual mediation with attorneys who desire “real time” feedback regarding negotiating, presenting the case for maximum results, and settling the case to avoid further litigation. Typically, some type of pre-mediation research has been conducted prior to the mediation, so that Magnus’ strategy recommendations can be based on a scientific analysis of factors likely to lead to a favorable case resolution.
Dr. Melissa Pigott is certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as a Circuit Mediator. Adding to her tremendous experience as a trial consultant, she now offers a full range of mediation services including coaching as well as observation and consulting on specific cases. She is also available as a mediator or co-mediator in all 20 circuits in Florida. As a psychologist, her vast knowledge of human behavior brings a unique perspective to dispute resolution.