An interesting piece in this week's Law Society Gazette:
"Only six out of the 21 FTSE-100 companies surveyed said their in-house lawyers had attended mediations as lead advocates without external lawyers, and even then on ‘larger, more complex disputes’ they would usually attend with external lawyers. Mediation was overwhelmingly reported as the ADR method of choice by respondents.
Barristers did not get such a positive response. A ‘significant number’ of respondents said having barristers present at the mediation ‘was more likely to lead to confrontational opening sessions and further polarisation of positions’.
But it is those law firms that have a proactive approach to ADR that get higher marks for client satisfaction with the process, according to the report. Many companies waited for their law firms to tell them whether they should turn to ADR or not, but judged their satisfaction on whether it had been suggested."
It is the discussion about barristers which has my attention.
It is always dangerous to generalise but whilst I have seen some barristers conduct themselves excellently as mediation advocates, too many in my view are over aggressive and frankly hostile to the mediation process.
They are too confrontational, too in your face, too willing to slam the other side, too prone to scupper the mediation and let it fall apart.
It is not necessarily what their solicitors and certainly their parties should want. Wake up!