When mediating a case in which attorney’s fees and costs are available to the prevailing party, each side should come to the mediation with an up-to-date accounting of their attorney’s fees and costs. Failing to have an up-to-date accounting will often “tilt” the other side who may have come to the mediation in good faith, prepared to settle, but be put off by the lack of preparation of opposing counsel. While it is true that, in many mediations, attorney’s fees become the roadblock to settlement (simply because the parties waited too long either to mediate or to “get real”), having up to date figures, ready to go, at mediation may assist greatly in getting the case settled. The parties and their counsel should come to mediation prepared in all respects, including the ability to state their current attorney’s fees and costs.
Rod B. Neuman is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator Certified Mediator (also admitted in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida) and offers these observations based upon his experiences mediating cases throughout the State of Florida.