Alimonti Mediation Services
Emphasizing Employment, Personal Injury, Product Liability, Premises Liability, Aviation, Insurance Coverage, Commercial Litigation, §1983 Civil Rights Claims.
It’s All About the Work
In our view, even the most gifted mediator cannot rely on skill alone. He or she must work to understand the case, the parties’ positions, motives, and motivations.
As such, we believe the biggest differentiation between Alimonti Mediation Services and others is the extent to which we work to properly prepare for your mediation – thereby maximizing the settlement potential. And, candidly, we ask our participants to do the same.
If you have ever been disappointed by the level of preparation of a well-paid and reputable mediator, or felt that while you retained a mediator, you were delivered a calculator, we offer an alternative.
Our work together starts well before the mediation. Once we accept a mediation assignment, we will immediately download the pleadings to learn the gist of the claim and defenses. More importantly, we require extensive submissions from the parties in advance of the mediation: one set to be shared between the parties, and a short ex parte settlement memorandum for the mediator’s eyes only. These materials are typically exchanged about two weeks before the mediation takes place.
Once the submissions are shared and exchanged, we really get to work. First, I review everything. Then, I conduct a series of teleconferences with counsel for the parties. Although there is no script for these discussions, common topics include: discovery status and needs; status of negotiations; perceived obstacles to settlement; misunderstandings; any lawyer/client tensions; expectations for the mediation itself. If the case seems ripe, exchanges of demands and offers may also take place. Indeed, some cases actually settle in the course of these teleconferences, sparing the parties the time and cost of the mediation itself. More often, issues are resolved at this stage that, if left uncorrected, would significantly hamper the mediation process. Just as importantly, as these pre-mediation conferences proceed and continue, we establish a rapport with the attorneys that carries over to the mediation itself.
A few examples of critical issues resolved before the mediation itself include clarifying something as basic as what has already been offered and demanded, arranging for informal discovery of documents and information to facilitate settlement, discussing the expectations of the party participants and where they may differ from those of his/her own counsel, and determining whether opening joint sessions are appropriate (we generally favor them). We cannot overstate the role that these initial teleconferences have played in facilitating eventual settlements. We truly hit the ground running at the mediation session itself, and you will feel this momentum when we begin. Moreover, your client will see and appreciate the thought and effort that all participants have put into the proceedings.
We approach mediation from both a facilitative and evaluative perspective. First and foremost, our goal is to bring the parties together and facilitate a better understanding of a claim and the needs of the opposing side. This may be difficult or impossible without engaging in an appropriate and discreet discussion of a given claim’s strengths and weaknesses. This is why the mediator’s preparation is so important, and this is where the evaluative component of our approach comes into play.
And of course, we want to conduct the mediation in a comfortable environment under the highest ethical standards. Mr. Alimonti is proud to lecture frequently on ethics and ethics in the mediation context. As frequent advocates in mediation, it is our goal to bring all the lessons, good and bad, from our mediation background, and treat you as we would like to be treated in your chair.
Our Job is Not Over with the Mediation
Inevitably, not all cases will settle at the mediation. This does not mean the mediation was not productive. A number of things often occur at the mediation that plant the seeds for settlement thereafter. Ideally, the parties are closer together after seeing the other side a bit more clearly. Sometimes, one or more parties need to process the mediation events and positions, and this may take time. If the parties agree, we will often provide a settlement recommendation. More often than not, these recommendations, with the benefit of some time for reflection, press the case toward eventual settlement.
Sometimes, some additional discovery will help get the settlement on track, and we will continue to work with the parties to try and resolve the case as this process continues. These follow-up’s, if necessary, are part of the process, and there is no charge for them unless excessive and agreed in advance.