Joshua Cohen is a Principal at Fat Pencil Studio
The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on civil trials, pushing court dates out a year or more in many cases. However, there has also been widespread adoption of video conferencing tools, making it easier and less costly to participate in mediation and settlement conferences. A question we've heard often is what's the best way to explain your case narrative without being there in person to advocate for your client?
The status quo is to write a lengthy mediation brief, and attach lots of exhibits documenting most of what your team has learned about the case thus far. The problem with this approach is you are leaving a lot up to chance. Does the mediator have sufficient tech savvy and the patience to review all these materials and reach the same conclusions as your team? What about other parties in the case? (if you are sharing some portion of the materials with them)
We think we've found a better way. Starting as early as possible, we collaborate with your team to develop a concise illustrated narrative to explain the key themes of the case, and put it on a password protected website that can be viewed on any device. Images, diagrams, audio and video clips can be inserted into the narrative at the appropriate point, without worry about compatibility or file transfer problems. Your audience views the presentation in a web browser and it just works. All access to the website is logged, giving you knowledge about which parties have viewed the material and how often.
Over the past year, we've used this approach in five cases. Three of these resolved before a lawsuit was even filed, due in part to the strength of the mediation narrative.