Los Angeles is a big city. The Greater Los Angeles area stretches over valleys and peaks, beaches and oceans. A big city, a desert, and a lot of beach towns all call Los Angeles county home. The diversity of industry within the county limits are perhaps the most varied of any in the nation. From Hollywood to farmlands and wineries, comedians and movie stars to construction workers, Los Angeles demands their employment mediators be familiar with all types of workplaces. The good news is while Los Angeles is quite vast, the employment mediation space is a quite small and very competent field.
Many of the mediators in Los Angeles work with a few, select big Mediation / Arbitration Companies. Independent mediators who operate on their own, are usually retired judges or retired attorneys who have hundreds if not thousands of employment cases on their resume.
That is why you need to select a law firm that has current attorneys with significant experience in this niche space. The best mediation results come when your attorney has built up credibility with the mediator. This can only happen over years of personal dealings and working several cases together.
Selecting a law firm with the most Mediation experience should be one of the top qualities you look for.
You might be wondering why Mediation is so important and why it should be one of, if not thee foremost quality you should look for when researching labor or employment law firms in Los Angeles. This is because 98% of civil cases settle prior to filing a formal complaint in the court of law. That means 98% of the cases settle at some point of the negotiation process. Mediation offers the best, most formal arena for settlement negotiations.
Once you hire a law firm to represent you in a wrongful termination matter the settlement negotiations begin. These negotiations are informal at first. They begin simultaneously while both sides gather evidence and investigate the matter. The “Company” will usually hire an outside law firm who will have no clue of the circumstances surrounding your termination and the events leading up to it. They will have to conduct interviews and request documents from their client, your former employer. They need to understand the workplace environment, the stage; your co-workers, the characters; and how it all interplays with the law.
While all this is ongoing, informal negotiations have begun. However, the defense firm is likely still conducting their fact-finding mission and do not have a firm grasp on the merits of the case. This means, they are unable to place a value on the case yet. Many firms will engage in the early stages of informal negotiations with for the mere hopes that the firm you have selected is willing to settle early and cheaply.
Once both sides have gathered the evidence and assessed the case, only then can they realistically value the case. This is typically the stage when the numbers get more realistic. The respective sides begin to see the strengths and weaknesses their case presents and perhaps even the other’s. This is the optimal time for the case to progress to a formal mediation setting.
The Mediation Process and How it Unfolds
Both sides must agree on a Mediator. They are expensive. A single day of Mediation can run upwards of $20,000.00 dollars. The parties agreeing upon a Mediator is good news for the employee because it means your former company and the defense firm they have hired are taking your claims seriously. In the lead up to Mediation day, both sides will prepare a Mediation Brief. The briefs are confidential and shared only with the Mediator. They are accompanied by some evidence which each side purports to help persuade the Mediator that your side of the case is stronger. The benefit is that the Mediator sees both sides’ best arguments and is highly trained and proficient at pushing both sides to a number that is fair when taking the facts and all the surrounding circumstances into account. Another reason Mediations are so fruitful are because confidentiality of these negotiations is taken very seriously. This allows both sides to freely discuss the claims, admit wrongdoings, and offer settlement numbers without fear of it being used against them at a subsequent trial or legal proceeding.
The day of mediation can be a long one. It can extend well into the late afternoon or evening, and you, as the client, should be prepared to be there as long as it takes. But at the end of the day, hopefully the result is a good and fair one. That is why Mediators get paid as much as they do.
Rodney Mesriani, the Principal Attorney of Mesriani Law Group, is the best, most experienced Mediation Employment Attorney in the Los Angeles area. His firm fronts the cost of Mediation, so every client has access to this effective settlement tool. His results speak for themselves and his twenty-plus years of experience with the Mediators of Los Angeles provides his clients an invaluable advantage and consistently provides the best results.