STUART STARRY is an adherent to a technique known as "positional bargaining." His joint sessions are intense. His individual party consultations are a bit more relaxed. Mediation is not the practice of law. It is not arbitration and the mediator does not decide or dictate results to either party. Instead, the mediator assists each party in seeing both the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions.
Dispelling common misunderstandings of law and fact is critical to gaining compromise. Most parties going into mediation have a limited view of the overall legal and factual landscape. They are usually surprised to learn the positions of the other side and the legal effect of those positions. After the mediator educates the parties, they usually come to a different valuation of their own positions. This is what makes compromise possible. Mr. Starry's sessions are designed to "flush out" the facts and legalities so that each party can make a more reasoned decision in making or accepting a settlement offer.
The risks inherent in continued dispute are not always seen by the parties. Mr. Starry helps each party understand the risks of continued litigation and the fact that no one really knows what a trial outcome will be. Eliminating the risk of “all or nothing” trial outcomes is a major benefit of mediated settlement. Oftentimes, an attorney is unable to adequately convey these risks to his clients. Mr. Starry will make sure the parties understand the facts as alleged by the other side, and how a jury or judge will likely view them. As a neutral mediator, Mr. Starry will have an ability to communicate with the parties that the attorneys will not possess. It is never beneficial when an attorney for either side is seen as anything other than an “advocate” for his client. Stuart Starry can effectively assist the advocates in getting their clients to see realities.
Mr. Starry is an effective explainer of legal theories and complicated facts. His extensive experience allows him to put what are otherwise complicated legal, medical, and scientific matters into language which can be easily understood and weighed.
Disclosures made to the mediator in confidence are kept confidential and will not be revealed to the other parties. The mediator will never express an opinion of the value of a case with both parties present. Rather, he will make confidential suggestions to each party in separate meetings. It will be up the each party to make or accept offers. If a case fails to settle, it is imperative that the respective confidences and positions of each party are not compromised. However, it is good to know that most cases which are mediated in this manner do settle.
The format for joint sessions is usually as follows: First the parties meet all together with the mediator in a conference room. The mediator speaks first and lectures each side on what is to be expected and how they can best contribute to settling the case. Then each side is allowed to make a complete (but usually brief) presentation of how they view the case. This is usually done by each party’s attorney. Each side is directed to pay attention and listen to the other side. Then the parties take a short break and separate to separate rooms. The mediator then shuttles between the rooms for the remainder of the mediation until a compromise is reached. Often this can make for a long day and the parties must be prepared to work after usual business hours. If a settlement is reached then the mediator assists the parties in reducing the settlement to a short written agreement which is signed by all before anyone leaves the mediation location. Relief usually ensues and the parties go home knowing that they can move forward with their lives and put the matter to rest.
Individual meeting formats vary. They are better suited to divorce cases and construction disputes. Usually, the mediator meets briefly by telephone with each party or their attorney and sets a schedule for individual meetings. The meetings are continued over time until the mediator feels that a written agreement is close to hand. Then the mediator usually prepares a draft agreement and each side meets with the mediator to edit the agreement until a final version is completed. This can take from weeks to months depending on the complexity of the case and the amounts involved.
While providing mediation in Albuquerque, Mr. Starry concentrates in part on divorce mediation, mediation services, and family law mediation.
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