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Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution

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Winning at mediation in the complex case

Faculty: The Honorable Diane Leasure and Deborah Thompson Eisenberg

Nearly every complex civil case is now resolved outside of the courtroom, typically through mediation or another alternative dispute resolution process. Understanding how to best use the mediation process to represent your client is a critical skill for attorneys. This class will equip attorneys to "win" at mediation in the complex case. This class will cover the different styles of mediation and how this forum is different from litigation, when mediation is appropriate for particular cases, and how to prepare for every step in the process, including: discussing the option with the client and opposing side; selecting the mediator; drafting the pre-mediation statement; preparing yourself and your client for the mediation session; and advocating at the mediation itself. 

What you will learn:

  • Understanding different approaches to conflict
  • The ADR landscape and how to select the best process for your client's situation
  • How to value your case
  • Cognitive barriers to settlement and how to overcome them
  • Negotiation dynamics at a mediation
  • Making the best use of joint sessions and caucuses
  • How to enlist the mediator to help your client and your case
  • Ethical issues in mediation
  • Planning for strategic information sharing
  • How to involve and prepare your client
  • Dealing with difficult people at mediation
  • Finding creative solutions and overcoming impasses
  • How to handle fee negotiation without bidding against clients
  • Unique issues in multi-party mediations

The Honorable Diane O. Leasure is retired from the Maryland 5th Judicial Circuit where she served as the circuit administrative judge, as well as the county administrative judge. Prior to her 16 years as a circuit court judge, she was a principal of Fossett & Brugger, Chartered, a boutique real estate and business law firm, where she was chair of the Litigation Practice Group. During her tenure on the bench, she served on and chaired numerous judiciary committees and served as a faculty member for the Judicial Institute and other CLE programs. In addition to being certified for recall in the circuit courts, she serves as the Senior Judicial Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and has a private mediation and arbitration business. She is a graduate of Rutgers School of Law – Camden and has a master of science degree from Drexel University. Judge Leasure's honors include the Anselm Sodaro Judicial Civility Award from the Maryland State Bar Association, The Daily Record's Leadership in Law award and being named one of the Daily Record's Top 100 Women three times, culminating in her induction into the Circle of Excellence.

Deborah Thompson Eisenberg is an assistant professor of law and director of the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where she writes and teaches in the areas of alternative dispute resolution and employment law. Prior to law teaching, she practiced complex civil litigation, especially employment and civil rights cases, for 15 years. Her diverse practice included work at a large corporate law firm, a public-interest advocacy organization, and a boutique firm where she was a partner representing primarily employees. Eisenberg represented clients at mediation in a variety of contexts, in individual and class action cases, at agencies and in state and federal courts. In addition, she is a trained mediator and mediates employment and civil cases. She is the former president of the Maryland Employment Lawyers Association and a graduate of Yale Law School.