As attorneys in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, we see our share of emotionally intense and factually complex disputes over trusts, estates, and wills. Many times, mediation before an actual trial can be a cost-effective way for the parties can come to an agreement. This blog post outlines those thoughts.
Posted: September 14, 2015
It is said that only about 5 percent of cases go to trial and that most end up settling. The reasons that a case might end up settling before trial are numerous. Perhaps one side has some unpleasant facts that he or she does not want aired to a jury of peers and made public record. Maybe the other side is just tired of fighting. Whatever the reason, for many clients, settlement at mediation presents an appealing option.
Mediation gives the parties to a lawsuit an opportunity to tell their side of the story to the mediator. The mediator can “poke holes” in the parties’ stories and let them know of any weaknesses in their cases. The parties can get a sort of sneak peak into how a judge or a jury might view their cases. Even if mediation is not appealing to a certain client, most courts now require parties to attend mediation before trial. The mediator is either someone the parties have agreed to use, or is someone the court has appointed (usually if the parties cannot agree).
At mediation, each party sits with his or her attorneys in a room separate from the other side. The mediator then goes back and forth between the parties and tries to work out an agreement. Before mediation, we recommend that clients evaluate their realistic desires for the case. We work together with our clients in advance to determine what our moving parts are, so we set the parameters for negotiation in advance.
Even if a case does not settle at mediation, mediation can be beneficial at the trial phase as well. The parties’ settlement attempts, while not useable in court, provide a helpful glimpse into how the other party views its case.
Our Dallas attorneys specialize in issues such as estate, will, and trust disputes, always with the goal of working as hard as possible for our clients. Sometimes mediation offers the best path; other times, we go all the way to trial. If you live anywhere within 200 miles of Dallas, or you have an estate issue being settled in Dallas (yet you live elsewhere), reach out to our attorneys for a consultation on your situation. Every case is different. We assist clients from all over the Dallas / Fort Worth Area and North Texas.