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Making the Most of Mediation
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This seminar is for attorneys who represent clients at mediation. It features experienced attorneys and mediators offering practice tips and strategies for effective advocacy at the mediated settlement conference.

When: Friday, November 9, 2018
9:00 AM
Where: WCU Asheville
28 Schneck Parkway #100
Asheville, North Carolina  28803
United States
Contact: The Mediation Center

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Making the Most of Mediation: Achieving Results for Your Client

This seminar is for attorneys who represent clients at mediation. It features experienced attorneys and mediators offering practice tips and strategies for effective advocacy at the mediated settlement conference.

Mediation is a key part of the pretrial process in federal and state courts in North Carolina. Experienced counsel know that mediation is frequently the fulcrum point where litigants pivot from contentiousness to a negotiated settlement. A range of critical areas will be discussed including preparation for mediation, techniques and pointers for negotiation, working effectively with your mediator, and focusing on the human dynamics behind the pleadings.

5 hours CLE credit. Not eligible for Continuing Mediator Education (CME) credit.

Lunch is included and vegetarian options will be available.


9:00 a.m. – 9:45a.m.
"The Readiness is All": Preparing for Mediation
Presenter: Katherine Langley

The ABA recently reported that only 2% of all civil cases in the U.S. go to trial. That means that, for all practical purposes, mediation is “the new trial.” As such, preparation for mediation should be given the same priority as preparing for trial. This session will address preparing opening presentations, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your case – and the other side’s – preparing your client, setting expectations, and brainstorming outcomes that take the case out of the win/lose paradigm. “Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Negotiation Essentials: Tools and Techniques for Finding Compromise
Presenters: Joe McGuire & Sabrina Presnell Rockoff

The importance of benchmarks, anchors and reference points in settlement talks; testing the waters with an initial offer; dealing with puffing, bluffing and threats; building better alternatives (BATNA); how to use diagnostic questions; dealing with hardball tactics (e.g., good cop/bad cop teams, demand that you bid against yourself, that you agree to unreasonable preconditions to negotiations, take-it-or-leave-it offers); when to bracket and how to respond to an offer of a bracket; being the first to make a written offer; negotiating about process as well as substance; playing the long game by being a good winner with a counterpart you will likely encounter again.

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Don’t Shoot the Messenger: Working Effectively with Your Mediator
Presenter: Bill Brazil

Maximizing settlement possibilities requires counsel to work well with the mediator as an ally in the journey toward resolution. This relationship is enhanced in specific ways, including gathering and sharing information with the mediator; using confidential and sensitive information to further negotiations; opening dialogue directly between the client or adjuster and the mediator; using “down time” to aid the mediator in efforts to encourage your counterpart to compromise; employing candor and realism in estimates of litigation budgets and range of potential outcomes; and sending clear signals to the mediator without needing to reveal your bottom line.

12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.– LUNCH (provided, on-site)

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Conflict Analysis: Examining the Dynamics Beneath the Drama
Presenters: Philip Roth & Laura Jeffords

This segment provides a framework for deepening your understanding of the human dynamics at play in a conflict. By reframing the actions and words of the parties, you can increase your understanding of the underlying concerns and interests and increase possibilities for finding common ground. With practical strategies for recognizing and responding to your client’s needs and unlocking the motives of the other side, you can increase your odds of a favorable outcome.


Katherine Langley has practiced litigation in firms of all sizes, from huge firms in New York to her own small firm, Burt Langley, P.C., in Asheville. She was first licensed to practice in New York in 1993, and in North Carolina in 1996, but she took several years off to raise her two daughters, who are now college-age. Her practice centers on business litigation and representation, estate litigation, and family law, and she serves on the board of directors of two local non-profits. When she is not working to pay two sets of college tuition bills, Katherine enjoys Asheville’s great restaurant scene, theater, and travel. She is fluent in French.

Joseph McGuire's expertise ranges from contracts and intra-corporate conflict to torts, trade secrets, insurance and municipal matters. He focuses on contract disputes, municipal liability, shareholder rights, governance of limited liability companies, unfair and deceptive trade practices, insurance coverage, business fraud and property disputes. Joe helps his clients with business disputes that may be resolved through negotiation, mediation or litigation. He has more than 35 years’ experience in the state and federal courts at both trial and appellate levels. Representative clients include The City of Asheville, Buncombe County and Historic Biltmore Village. The Joseph P. McGuire First Year Seminar on Critical Thinking at UNC-Chapel Hill is named for him.

Sabrina Presnell Rockoff understands that while employees are a valuable asset, they can create potential liability risks for their employers. Sabrina is an Asheville native who returned to the area after 10 years of practice with large international law firms. She provides practical knowledge and experience to her clients, while also recognizing the emotional aspects of employment issues. Sabrina develops and drafts human resources practices, policies and contracts; conducts employee-related investigations; works with employers on union-related matters; and represents employers in front of governmental agencies and in federal and state courts. Sabrina is the Managing Partner of McGuire Wood & Bissette.

Bill Brazil graduated from Baylor University in 1986 and from Wake Forest School of Law in 1989. Since graduation from law school he has been practicing law in Asheville, NC. He and his law partner Meghann Burke operate the firm of Brazil & Burke, P.A. Previously, his firm was exclusively a litigation practice and he has tried numerous cases to jury verdict in every county in the western part of North Carolina. In response to the stress, angst, and sleeplessness inherent to litigation and a desire to learn more about maximizing clients’ prospects for a negotiated settlement, Bill became certified to mediate superior court cases in 2004. Mediation of these cases is now about 75% of his practice and he has mediated over 1000 cases. Bill is also certified to mediate family financial settlement cases.

Philip Roth,  P. J., a native of Madison, Wisconsin, received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin. A lawyer for twenty-six years, he initially practiced law in Chicago and later served as a staff attorney to a trade association in Alexandria, Virginia before settling in Asheville in 1995. A founding shareholder in Marshall, Roth & Gregory in 2001, P. J.’s practice is concentrated in civil rights, commercial litigation and community association law. He has been a certified superior court mediator since 2010.

Laura Jeffords  is the Executive Director of the Mediation Center, which serves Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania, and Polk counties and provides mediation for issues involving district court cases, juvenile court complaints, Medicaid appeals, school conflicts, neighborhood disputes, prison re-entry, and family concerns. The Mediation Center also provides supervised child visitation and monitored child exchange services. She has served in this role since 2008. Laura has been a member of the board of directors for the National Association for Community Mediation and holds an undergraduate degree in theoretical linguistics from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master's in Public Affairs from Western Carolina University.

Click here  for directions to Western Carolina University at Biltmore Park. Click here  for a map of Biltmore Park, which includes instructions for free parking.

Please find our refund/cancellation policy here.

All registration fees benefit The Mediation Center.

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