Since our legal system of dispute resolution tends to remedy wrongs only by payment of money, most settlements will eventually involve negotiations over the amount to be paid and received. Yet, in both the theory and actual practice of mediation that has lead this writer to conclude that it is never just about the money. Effective lawyer representation of clients in mediation requires a different kind of investigation and preparation than lawyers may be accustomed to conducting. Similarly, an effective mediator must be adept in identifying the clues that reveal the "below the water line" interests at work and which must be dealt with if resolution is to be achieved. In the absence of either consideration, patience may run short, posturing may replace openness to settlement options and impasse result in the mediation. To paraphrase Socrates, the father of the legal profession, if you want that check to be written, "know thy client as well as know thyself!"
Steven L. Schwartz,
The Mediated Settlement: Is It Always Just About the Money? Rarely!,
4 Pepp. Disp. Resol. L.J.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/drlj/vol4/iss2/11