Mistakes are part of life. But wouldn’t life be easier if you could avoid them? Sometimes, you can.
Mistakes are often made when lawyers refer clients to mediation. As a lawyer, you will want mediators to help your clients get better outcomes, but are you sure you’re doing all you can to support them?
Despite the importance of referrals, some of those I receive feel unplanned: “Here are the names of three mediators: give one of them a call.” is how some clients tell me their solicitors referred them. Is that how clients are referred to barristers?
So what’s the first mistake to avoid?
It’s making a referral without having a plan. Referring without a plan leaves clients doing all the legwork. And if clients do all the legwork, what’s your role? What value will you be adding?
As a client, I would feel far more comfortable if my experienced lawyer was not only helping me choose the right professional, but also helping me understand the process, timing, options, advantages, disadvantages and so on. So your job is to manage your client’s problem, including the referral.
Start by asking yourself: who, when, where, why, how and what if? Learn to understand your client’s needs, wishes, goals and budget.
With the answers to these questions, you can begin to plan your client’s referral. It needn’t be written, although a diagram or flowchart may help to clarify it for you and your client.
Then implement it. Your client will be grateful for your great referral.
I am Stephen G Anderson. I am a professional mediator.