If you think of settlement as mediation, then how would you prepare? In mediation, I think most lawyers would prepare an aggressive presentation that helps persuade your fact finder. I think you should do the same for settlement talks.
At this point, the judge is usually working from a short summary of the facts of the case and is by no means an expert in the facts. The judge is attempting to take a very quick look at the facts, and attempting to force both sides’ hands using fear as a motivator.
What if instead you were able to open up a laptop (or the same in paper form) and say, “Your Honor, if you’ll allow me a three minutes, I’ll show you six things that may change the way you are looking at this case.” I think most judges would say yes.
So here are five areas where you can use litigation graphics meaningfully, powerfully, and successfully during settlement talks.
1. During actual mediation. Here there are usually no federal rules of evidence. It’s a good time to be aggressive with your litigation graphics.
2. During settlement talks in a judge’s chambers. Whether you open a laptop to a PowerPoint or whether you have tabletop-size charts to share, using visuals will show that you’re serious, will allow a judge to get her arms around your case quickly, and will provide ammunition to force settlement from the other side closer to your number.
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