At Schorr Law, our real estate attorneys have participated in literally hundreds of mediations of real estate disputes. Our experience includes mediating multi-million dollar disputes all the way through mediating non-monetary disputes between neighbors. Through our experience, we have come up with a couple of tips for mediating real estate disputes:
Before the mediation think of your bottom line. In mediation terms, the bottom line figure is the number that you are willing to settle for to avoid the risk of taking your matter to trial. This is an important analysis that you must conduct before you arrive at your mediation. We suggest figuring out that number or term ahead of the mediation as an end point for your negotiation. You can then work backwards on a strategy of how to do better than your bottom line.
Analyze the role attorneys’ fees play in your case. Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on your relative position in the case) attorneys’ fees have to be factored into a risk analysis. In the United States the “American Rule” is that unless a contract or specific provision in the law allows for the recovery of attorney’s fees, then each party has to bear their own attorneys’ fees. The key question then becomes – do you have an ability to recover your attorneys’ fees?
• If the answer is no, you have to factor the expected cost to maintain the action against your hopeful recovery.
• If the answer is yes, then you should have a reasonable expectation of getting a large portion of your fees reimbursed from the other side if you win, but the flip side is if you lose you will likely have to pay your opponents’ attorneys’ fees.
Never show your cards. Never reveal your final position until it truly is that. Never.
Try to Pick a Good Mediator. We think of mediators like a good handshake. A nice firm handshake conveys strength and assuredness, while a soft handshake conveys a lack of power, introversion and even a lack of confidence. A good mediator displays power, is active, strong in their conviction and effectively moves the parties towards resolution by focusing on the relative strengths and weaknesses of their position. A bad mediator simply exchanges numbers back and forth like a used car salesman. It is hard to know going into the mediation the type of mediator you will get, so ask your lawyer, ask around and hopefully you will find a mediator who is active and brings the power and energy your case deserves. We like to tie changes in demands to the facts and law of the case.
Bring a settlement alternative. You maybe looking for a lump sum settlement payment up front, but think about alternatives. Maybe you would be willing to settle for a payment plan if the total amount is higher. Maybe rather than being compensated you are willing to sell your property or buy your neighbor’s property. There are no rules on settlement, so be creative. The goal at any mediation is to get the case resolved so do not forget to consider non-monetary alternatives.
Looking for more tips for mediating real estate disputes, or an attorney to do the mediation for you? Contact Schorr Law to schedule a consultation! Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org | Send us a message! | Call us at (310) 954-1877 | Send us a text to (323) 487-7433.