An Informal, But Effective, Means Of Settling Disputes And Eliminating Risks

Although I have a track record of success trying cases to juries, all trial lawyers, or at least those lawyers that have tried enough cases, understand that there are no guarantees at the courthouse. Jury trials, especially in today’s volatile environment, are inherently unpredictable. To that end, mediation provides litigants with an opportunity to reach a compromise and to eliminate the risks associated with jury trials.

Mediation is a form of settlement negotiation conducted and assisted by an impartial person experienced in the art of settling disputes. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator does not decide the outcome of the case.  The mediator makes no findings of fact or law, whether binding or non-binding. The mediator’s job is to help all interested parties reach a fair and reasonable resolution through a process that encourages each side to openly air disputes, to identify strengths and weaknesses and to agree on a satisfactory solution. That said, the process of mediation is, by its very nature, an assisted settlement negotiation, and it involves multiple stages, including a general session with all parties and lawyers followed by private sessions with the individual parties and lawyers. If the parties reach a compromise/settlement, then the mediator will assist the parties in memorializing the essential terms of the compromise/settlement. Ultimately, though, the parties remain responsible for achieving a mutually acceptable agreement, and the mediator does the best to facilitate that agreement. Importantly, the mediation proceedings are private and privileged. In fact, the law prohibits the mediator, or any party, from telling the court anything said during mediation. At most, the mediator may report to the court that the case did or did not settle.

Most of my legal career has been spent handling high exposure lawsuits. Along the way, I have walked hand-in hand with, and I have gone toe-to-toe against, some of the most respected and skilled trial lawyers in the State of Texas. I am a firm believer that hard work, loyalty and integrity are major keys to success. One without the other won’t get you far in the lawsuit world (or life). As a trial lawyer, I have worked hard to earn the respect of my clients, my peers, judges and juries, and I have done so with integrity.

Based on the foregoing and based on my recent, “real world” experience handling lawsuits, I truly believe that I am uniquely positioned to be an effective mediator. As your mediator, I cannot promise that your case will settle at mediation. I can promise, however, that I will work hard to help you settle your case, and I will respect all participants in the mediation. At the same time, I am not a “water carrier” (i.e., I don’t just run dollar figures from room to room without discussion of important issues/positions). I will not hesitate to discuss the parties’ respective issues/positions, including my perception of the strengths and weaknesses in the case. Please do not mistake my discussion of strengths and weaknesses as advocacy for one party or another. I believe that understanding your weaknesses helps sharpen your strengths. Of course, any information shared with me in private will be treated as confidential unless permission to disclose is expressly given to me.

Mediation Costs

Most mediations require only one day and, typically, cost no more than a single deposition.  Some mediators charge an hourly fee, and others charge a flat daily rate that varies according to the amount in controversy, nature of the dispute, and the number of parties.

Under certain circumstances, I will work with the parties on a different fee structure, but my typical fee structure is as follows:

Full - Day Mediation

$1,750 per party -- personal lines
$2,250 per party -- commercial lines

If conducted in-person, the mediation fee includes lunch, drinks, snacks and free parking.

A full-day mediation commences at 9:30a.m. and concludes at 5:00p.m.

Note:  All parties represented by a single lawyer are deemed one “party” for the purposes of the mediation fee.

Half - Day Mediation

$850 per party -- personal lines
$1000 per party -- commercial lines

A morning session commences at 9:30a.m. and concludes at 1:00p.m.

An afternoon session commences at 1:30p.m. and concludes at 5:00p.m.

Note:  All parties represented by a single lawyer are deemed one “party” for the purposes of the mediation fee.

Out-of-Town Travel

Because I have handled lawsuits across the State of Texas, I welcome the opportunity to travel to destinations outside of the greater Houston, Texas area to mediate claims and cases. Under those circumstances, though, in addition to my typical mediation fees (see above), the mediation fee may increase.  In addition, I typically request that the parties reimburse me, on a pro-rata basis, for reasonable/standard transportation, lodging and meal expenses incurred during the course of my travels to and from the mediation. Please contact me directly to discuss additional fees/expenses for out-of-town mediations.