Use of Experts at Mediations

I serve as an expert witness in patent suits and in legal malpractice cases/ethical issues relating to them (and general ethical matters).  Twice in the past year or so I’ve been asked to attend mediations as an expert, and sometimes to talk in the opening sessions and at another to simply talk to the mediator in the “closed” sessions.  I had thought it odd, but then read this article (hopefully here and not behind a paywall) which suggests that it’s good practice to have an expert at mediations.

To do so competently, the article explains that ahead of time the lawyers should agree on a process that avoids creating a cross-examination proceeding, but to also allow legitimate inquiry.  The goal, as the article put it:

First, to explore the possible weaknesses in the factual and technical underpinnings of the experts’ positions. And, second, to build a working knowledge of each expert’s strongest points in order to be able to best convey them to the other side.

Given that most cases settle, and given the importance of experts in patent suits generally, I thought this was an interesting observation and perhaps explains why I’ve been to mediations lately.  But I still hate being at them and the entire process!

About David

Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law. Formerly Of Counsel, Taylor English Duma, LLP and in 2012-13, judicial clerk to Chief Judge Rader.