New research makes the case for bringing litigants face to face through mediation
In "Consequences of Power," an article to appear in the upcoming Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Vol. XII, 2007, and available as a PDF download at the Social Science Research Network, Tamara Relis, a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia Law School and the London School of Economics Department of Law, reports on the results of a survey and analysis of litigation-track mediation in medical malpractice cases.
Relis finds evidentiary support for the value of bringing plaintiffs and defendants face to face, despite the efforts of counsel to keep them apart. Her findings reveal the disconnect between attorneys' objectives and those of their clients and shows that plaintiffs and defendants are more closely aligned than one might suppose, seeking similar outcomes and desiring above all the opportunity to communicate. And Relis sees ample evidence for what mediators have long known from experience, namely that mediation meets needs beyond those which the legal system can remedy, something other than compensation or a favorable verdict. Mediation provides what Relis calls "human benefits"--understanding, forgiveness, empowerment, or merely the opportunity to be heard.
For the abstract and a link to the download in PDF, please visit the Social Science Research Network web site.
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