find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Mediation demand driven by client enthusiasm

Mediation demand driven by client enthusiasm

Corporate clients are increasingly embracing mediation as a method of dispute resolution, prompting lawyers to follow suit, one barrister has said.

Speaking with Lawyers Weekly, Anthony Lo Surdo SC of 12 Wentworth Selborne Chambers said there has been a significant change in the way mediation is viewed in the business world.

“Mediation was initially something the courts were imposing upon the parties, partly to address the backlog in the resolution of civil matters,” he said.

In recent years, however, the business community has seen first-hand the benefits of having disputes resolved expeditiously in mediation, Mr Lo Surdo continued.

“When I first did my mediation training in 1993, it wasn't something that was universally embraced,” he said.  

The courts, particularly in NSW, were using mediation but lawyers were “a little bit sceptical about it” at that time, he continued.

“They were concerned it might lead to a demise in work,” Mr Lo Surdo added.

However, a "top-down" change has occurred slowly over the past 20 years or so, driven by clients seeking the savings in time and money that mediation delivers, according to Mr Lo Surdo.

Now that companies are electing to mediate more often, it is important that they get the timing right, he said.

Matters that are referred to mediation too late are sometimes difficult to settle because parties have already incurred high costs, said Mr Lo Surdo.

“Cases going to mediation early also have their difficulties,” he said. “Sometimes the issues aren't well crystallised at that time.”

While professional mediators are increasingly common in mediation, practising lawyers still have an edge, said Mr Lo Surdo.

“Being a practising lawyer or having expertise in the particular area of dispute lends a bit of gravitas – it adds another layer of confidence in the process,” he said.

Lawyers who have a practice beyond mediation can bring something new to the process, according to Mr Lo Surdo.

“They have an intimate and current knowledge of the pressures the parties and lawyers face in preparing matters for hearing and running matters in court,” he said.

“That gives them an insight into the drivers and factors that might be relevant to resolving the dispute.

“It also gives the parties some degree of confidence that the person there understands their case.”

While mediators do not give advice directly, it is often of assistance to the parties to hear a third-party evaluation from a mediator, continued Mr Lo Surdo.

“Often, that resonates with advice or comments made by their own lawyers. It assists the parties in being able to change or amend their expectations, and that might then drive the parties closer together.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Mediation demand driven by client enthusiasm
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Jetski
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Consultation
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
IBA
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...