Successful mediation in trust and estate litigation or a case of elder financial abuse does not always involve resolution. Mediation is an exploration of common ground and ultimate points of contention. The opposing lawyer will display his or her style, and it is important to note the style's strengths and weaknesses.
This is not intended to be an exploration of antidotes to any particular style. It is simply my reflection on opposing counsel styles that I have encountered in trust & financial elder abuse mediation.
- The Rooster: The Rooster or "cock of the walk" is a man who thinks he is stronger, more intelligent and more successful than those around him. While the Rooster wants to be intimidating in mediation, at times he is just entertaining.
- The Insurance Adjuster: The Insurance Adjuster style is that no matter what the value of a particular case, is it is important to protract negotiation and start at the lowest possible offer.
- The Parasite: The parasitical approach is conditioned by the defendant or trustee's expressed willingness to spend all assets of an estate to defend against a claim. Real people with real injuries or inflicted wrongs can suffer because a lawyer or other professional is willing to be complicit in injustice.
- The Mockingbird: The Mockingbird sneers at, derides or makes fun of the opposing side in a cruel way. Mockingbirds soon become well-known in the legal community, and not in a good way.
- The Jurist: I've seen cases where the opposing counsel is so focused on legal theory that other rules of advocacy are set aside. The danger of the style is that the opponent "can't see the forest for the trees."
- The Soviet: The Soviet style of mediation negotiating involves extreme initial offers, expressions of limited authority, and stinginess. I've seen such style incorporate deception coupled with complete lack of remorse for wrongdoing.
Of course, the description of the above styles isn't exhaustive and reflects dramatic license. Still, for what it's worth, I must admit that when I am an advocate at a mediation, I look for the telltale signs of the particular style that my opposing counsel embraces. I assume that he or she is looking at me in the same way.
If you need an experienced attorney for mediation or litigation in an estate, trust or probate dispute, call us at Hackard Law. We're dedicated to being advocates for our clients and pursuing their best interests. Our number is 916-313-3030. We look forward to speaking with you. Thank you.