Lawyers USA reports how the poor economy has encouraged potential litigants and aggrieved parties to seek out mediation before filing suit in court.  Some excerpts:

With the economy crimping corporate legal spending, Allen Smith, a partner with the law firm SettlePou in Dallas, has noticed that clients are more receptive to early mediations of commercial disputes.

“Business clients care about results and getting problems resolved,” he said.

In a recent case, for example, Smith told a corporate client he could pursue a lawsuit against a government agency. Or he could encourage the government to agree to mediation.  Smith drafted a petition to file suit – to show that his client was serious and had valid claims. But he also made it clear that he was “serious about wanting to talk.”

The government agreed to mediation, which has been scheduled for early this year.  “We’re all going to the table before a lawsuit has even been filed, hopefully to walk through what might be the issues,” Smith explained.

The cost savings of mediating the case could be dramatic – about $6,000, compared with up to $150,000 for a lawsuit.

The article further talks about how the “art” of negotiation to get a settlement among and between attorneys has been degrading recently, especially among younger attorneys.  This is largely due to the advent of court annexed mediation.

Please contact me if you want to learn more about saving time and money by mediating a dispute prior to filing a lawsuit.