Mediation Blog

Get ready. There is a backlog of 2 million civil cases in the State of Florida and the Florida Supreme Court has taken notice.


A recent Florida Bar News article suggests that the Florida Supreme Court is considering some wide-ranging and seismic changes to streamline case management and to reduce the time it takes to get to trial.


A Streamlined and Accelerated Case Management Plan


A Judicial Management Council workgroup has been working on recommendations that would require legal counsel to create a case management plan at the outset with all requisite deadlines that must be adhered to.


Strict Deadlines


The workgroup's intention is to speed up the prosecution of the cases while reducing the time for obtaining hearings and orders. One commentator suggested that deadlines will be strict and continuances will be very difficult to obtain.


What the Future Holds


The work on this project started in October 2019 and the thought is it would take up to 18 months to implement once decided and in final form. Noticeably absent from the workgroup report was any recommendation as to the use of dispute resolution or early mediation to help resolve cases.


The Takeaway


While it is too early to comment in detail, my initial reaction is the Supreme Court possesses a unique opportunity at this time to implement uniform provisions in a new case management plan that provide for dispute resolution mechanisms and early mediation. To the extent that early mediation could result in a resolution, that would certainly reduce cases on the docket and less stress on already tight judicial resources.


The second takeaway is that trial lawyers had better start getting prepared for a whole new world in which their already limited time is going to be even further reduced. Case and time management skills will need to be improved to keep up with this new paradigm. Perhaps this alone will also motivate trial lawyers to analyze their cases more closely for early resolution purposes and to build better skills for dispute resolution.


Only time will tell.


Stay well,



Patrick Russell

Miami Florida Mediator


Meaningful Mediation is Ethical, Mindful, and Strategic

meaningful mediation


#mediation #adr #disputeresolution #mediationtips

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Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Thanksgiving is such a wonderfully named day. This special day is centered around family and gratitude. During this time, we share thanks for all that we have and for each other. As we near the end of the year, such warmth, feeling, and good cheer is especially welcome.


After thinking about it some more, I realized that perhaps we could take this a step further. Traditionally, we think of Thanksgiving as the time to give thanks. But what about the idea of separating those words and embracing both thanks and giving? By doing this, we could truly enhance and supercharge good cheer and well-being.


How do we do this? First, let's first give thanks as we traditionally do for our good health, family, and the wonderful opportunities that we have. As much as we have contributed to our own good fortune, there are circumstances and others that have also helped us along the way. Think of this as pure gratitude and appreciation.


Secondly, let's make an effort to give. By this, we can be of service to others. Bring happiness to others and the world that surrounds you. Giving has many levels. Helping others in a time of need. Listening. Providing advice. Volunteering. Being kind to strangers. Making someone's day. Through giving we set the table to give ourselves true happiness.


Finally, let's try to extend thanks and giving beyond Thanksgiving. If thanks and giving is so special, why limit it to just one day a year? I would suggest to make thanks and giving a habit and see what kind of impact that can have for you not only now but in the future.


During this special time of the year, I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. I also hope that we all can do more to give thanks and giving, every day, so we can bring a little more happiness for ourselves and for others.


Stay well,



Patrick Russell

Miami Florida Mediator


Meaningful Mediation is Ethical, Mindful, and Strategic

meaningful mediation


#mediation #adr #disputeresolution #mediationtips

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Updated: Dec 9, 2021

Information has the power to influence and ultimately move people to action. This is precisely why we are bombarded with information day and night. Whether it be marketing messages, political speech, or even an email from a co-worker, they all are a call to action in one way or another.


Mediation, as a forum for dispute resolution, is no different. If the goal at mediation is to seek resolution of a matter on favorable or acceptable terms, then mediation cannot operate in a vacuum of non-information. Failing to disclose critical information at mediation takes away your opportunity to influence the case and move people to action so the matter may be resolved.

Settlement is a Rational Business Decision


The resolution of a case at mediation is often the result of a rational business decision. There are of course those instances where a party may resolve a case on a whim but those are usually rare instances and not necessarily lasting.


If you want to have a lasting resolution without buyer's remorse, the better practice is to ensure that both parties are making rational business decisions. A rational business decision is an informed decision in which a risk and cost/benefit analysis has been made. The only way an informed decision can be made is where a party has sufficient information to conduct a risk and cost/benefit analysis.


What to Disclose


In the context of resolving a legal case, what does the other side need to hear in order to make an informed business decision? It is actually pretty simple. The other side needs information that can impact its analysis as to the prospects of liability, the measure of damages, and the costs for proceeding to trial if a settlement is not reached.


To be clear, by the time the parties reach mediation, they should already have a view as to liability and the prospects of success at trial, the range for possible damages by way of a verdict, and what it will cost to get through trial and any possible appeals.


However, these views on liability, damages, and costs are unilateral and developed only from the limited perspective of that party. This is where assumptions, bias, overconfidence, and a lack of information can lay a trap and skew the analysis. For instance, do you really think the other side sees liability, damages, and costs, exactly the same way as you do? If not, then what information or assumptions are they relying upon for their analysis?


If both sides were to freely and candidly share their information as to liability, damages, and costs, it is sure to generate an interesting discussion. Such a discussion may expose blind spots, new ideas, and faulty assumptions. The key here is new information is gathered. You do not have to openly agree that you have a blind spot or made a faulty assumption, but you certainly now have the opportunity to act upon it and further assess your position.


In contrast, withholding information like playing poker, so that it can be launched as a surprise at trial is often a faulty strategy. Why is this? Because there is no trial by ambush. If you are going to use this incredible piece of evidence or witness testimony for liability or damages, rest assured you are going to have to disclose it prior to trial.


What to Do with the Information


If opposing information is candidly shared at mediation concerning liability, damages, and costs, new opportunities will open up during mediation. First, with this information the parties will now be in a better position to understand the actions of the other and why certain stances have been taken. This takes the parties out of the realm of distrust or just writing off the other side as being irrationale. The by-product of this understanding is to build rapport with the other side which is needed for resolution.


A second opportunity that develops during mediation with the exchange of information is for a party to question their own assessment as to liability, damages, and costs. New information shared by your opposing party may lead to a different concern as to liability, a recalculation of damages, or never considered additional costs.


Similarly, the free exchange of information may allow you to challenge the other party's assessment as to liability, damages, and costs. In this way, you may have discovered a blind spot in the other party's analysis that you could address at mediation that could completely alter their view of the case.


The Takeaway


When both parties can freely and confidentially exchange information during mediation, not only is rapport and trust built, but it also naturally creates a collaborative environment. In this collaborative environment, the parties can non-judgmentally try to solve a problem. This is a marked difference from the litigious winner-take-all environment the parties have been operating in up to this point. This is the essence of having a meaningful mediation.


Stay well,



Patrick Russell

Miami Florida Mediator


Meaningful Mediation is Ethical, Mindful, and Strategic

meaningful mediation


#mediation #adr #disputeresolution #mediationtips

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