June 23, 2015
Michael Levine's "CITY TALK"
How to Resolve or otherwise Manage Conflict Professionally and Personally
"The average 'financial cost' of a divorce in the United States is estimated to be $20,000.00 per person. While some divorces only cost a few hundred dollars, others can cost millions of dollars. 'Each case has its own 'price point.' The amount of fees and other expenses that may be required to resolve a case depends on at least four variables: (1) Level of conflict, (2) Complexity of issues, (3) Sophistication of clients, and (4) Choice of counsel.' This quote is from an article by Nancy Chausow Shafer titled Dispute Resolution Processes in Limited Finance Cases - Stepping up to Client-Centered Decision Makingthat was published in the Fall 2013 edition of ABA Section of Family Law - Family Advocate."
Those variables and their impact on cost are the same for all types of cases. Furthermore, on any given case, the "complexity of issues" and "sophistication of clients" will be the same, regardless of the process used for resolving the matter. In other words, those "variables" are "fixed" for any given situation. However, "level of conflict" and "choice of counsel" are by no means fixed. Those two variables are very tied together. In fact, the article I wrote for the Huffington Post that led to their making me a Huffington Post Blogger was titled "The Personality and Philosophy of Attorneys Impact the Results." Outcomes are typically determined by the way in which the "game" is designed. The question then becomes how you want to design the "game" in order to achieve your desired results.
Mediation should be considered when seeking any of the following:
- Improve relations;
- Improve communication;
- Fundamental fairness;
- Addressing everyone's underlying interests, needs, values, goals and fears;
- Resolve or otherwise manage conflict;
- Solution oriented;
- Work toward a solution that is win/win or possibly even mutually successful;
- Reach longer-lasting outcomes;
- Increased possibility of compliance with ultimate result;
- Decrease the level of conflict;
- Rebuild trust;
- A confidential process;
- Learn effective problem solving tools for future use;
- Increased satisfaction in the result;
- More affordable process;
- Control over the process and outcome;
- More expeditious process; and
- Less stressful process.
Litigation should be considered when seeking any of the following:
- Legal justice - based upon legal rights and obligations;
- Play the blame game;
- Uncertainty of outcome;
- Limited options - judicial remedies;
- Exacerbate the conflict level;
- Increase the level of distrust
- Further damage relations;
- Win/lose or likely a lose/lose result;
- Low level of compliance with ultimate result;
- Feed paranoia;
- A public record;
- Expensive process;
- Loss of control over the process and outcome;
- More time consuming process;
- Resolving legal issues, without regard for the underlying cause(s) of those issue; and
- Increased stress.
Mediation is not a good option under the following circumstances:
- At least one person involved in the dispute will only be satisfied if the judge sides with them, regardless of the cost (financial, emotional and otherwise).
- At least one person involved in the dispute only wants their way, with no room for negotiation.
- At least one person involved in the dispute is not acting in good faith.
- Certain levels of domestic violence (safety issues) are involved.
- Matters of broad public importance.
Mark B. Baer, Esq.
Mark B. Baer, Inc., a Professional Law Corporation
100 East Corson Street, Suite 200
Pasadena, CA 91103