As governmental budgets have become more and more stressed, both the State and Federal court systems have brought pressure on litigants to resolve cases without a trial. In theory, this is a positive goal for both parties, given the inherent delay and expense attendant to modern litigation.
Unfortunately, many defendants are simply unwilling to pay fair value for claims without being confronted with the full weight of evidence and testimony supporting a plaintiff’s case. As a result, far too many major claims fail to be resolved in settlement or mediation conferences when it would be in the best interests of all parties to reach a fair compromise. Worse yet, some clients succumb to the pressure of the process and find themselves accepting a settlement that does not satisfactorily compensate for the losses at issue.
McGuinn, Hillsman & Palefsky recognizes that it is our obligation to achieve full and adequate compensation for our clients in every case. We recognized early on that the court system’s growing emphasis on settlement and mediation conferences required an understanding of how to best present claims within that context. As a result, we have incorporated technology and persuasive science into the pretrial process with extraordinary results.
“An image shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound.” – Ivan Turgenev 1862.
When appropriate, we produce what amounts to a mini-documentary for our client’s case. The video presentation typically has a running time of between eight and fifteen minutes with a format similar to that seen on network news programs such as 20/20 or 60-Minutes.
By using this approach we are able to succinctly and effectively present a convincing picture of the client’s life before and after a significant injury and the response in settlement and mediation conferences has been dramatic.
The population today has become media savvy and visually sophisticated to the point that any film or video presentation has to have a minimum amount of production value to avoid appearing amateurish or inexpensive. Occasionally attorneys will say they seek to avoid having a production appear “too slick” or “overly polished.” In fact, such statements indicate a misunderstanding of the nature of a truly well-crafted settlement documentary or mediation video.
Viewers make independent judgements as to the level of production and the actual content of the information being conveyed. A serious and significant claim should always be presented in a professional and serious manner. The production value for a mediation presentation matters as much as the dress and demeanor of the attorney representing the client.
Our presentations are calculated to make the point that we are prepared to go to trial with a winning case. Our track record of success at mediation and settlement conferences speaks for itself.