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In Place of Strife

The Mediation Chambers

Let the clients speak!

Mark Jackson-Stops, Head of Chambers, writes:

Andrew Paton, one of our busiest mediators, has sent me this observation:

"Let the clients speak!

Without question the best presentations that I have seen at mediation have been done by the clients themselves. On the other hand it is also the case that the worst presentations at mediation have been given by the clients themselves."

What is the professional adviser to make of this mixed message? It is this, I believe: the default positon must be to encourage the client to speak, but to ensure that he/she is well rehearsed but still able to speak from the heart. Occasionally you will judge the client to be a serious risk to the prospects of engaging a negotiation. That's when you will persuade him/her to rely on professional advisers to speak on his/her behalf.

Mediator: Andrew Paton and Mark Jackson-Stops

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