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Help or hindrance?

Help or hindrance?

By Jonathan Kaplan


In various ways the involvement of lawyers in a mediation has clear benefits, but the mediator, parties and lawyers must be aware of potential limitations. A study that questioned whether or not lawyers were prejudicial to the mediation process in workplace disputes concluded that, save for two exceptions, the presence of lawyers did not significantly affect the outcome of the mediation. The exceptions were: That the presence of lawyers reduced the parties’ level of satisfaction with the mediator (possibly because if the matter didn’t resolve, or a party settled on terms less favourable than they anticipated, the lawyer could always, if criticised by the client, blame the mediator). The presence of a lawyer would appear to hinder the level of reconciliation possible between the parties.

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