In most mediations, lawyers aren’t usually necessary.
Mediators aim to collaborate on solving issues, not convince a judge.
Rules are simple, so people can manage alone.
For big property or legal matters, consulting a lawyer before mediation is wise.
You could also make agreement contingent on lawyer’s approval.
The Right Lawyer
When seeking a lawyer for mediation, find one who truly backs the process.
Some lawyers prefer advocating and struggle to shift to compromise mode.
Lawyer choice depends on ongoing guidance or just initial advice.
Their personality matters less for legal counsel, but it’s crucial if you want coaching.
For coaching, clearly state in the first meeting that you need a mediation-friendly attorney.
They should understand compromise and not base everything on potential court outcomes.
You could ask them to prep you for mediation but not attend sessions.
Also, request agreement review before signing.
Questions to Ask the Lawyer Before Mediation
Amid attorney underemployment, beware of those who claim support for mediation just to get clients. To dig deeper, ask these:
Has the lawyer ever worked with clients going through mediation?
Did the lawyer find the process successful for the client? Lawyers’ past mediation discussions often reveal their true views.
Some who handled unsettled cases might be negative (“I warned my client, they didn’t listen”).
Luckily, many lawyers respect mediation, even if cases don’t settle.
Has the lawyer been trained in mediation?
Two types of mediation training for lawyers exist: becoming a mediator or aiding clients in mediation.
Both show interest, but favor lawyers trained for client representation.
Especially if mediator training was limited/free.
When hiring a lawyer for mediation, clarify fee structure.
Expect normal rates, plan ahead for lawyer’s assistance duration.
Additional advice during mediation could raise the cost.