• A reputation for professional excellence with integrity

    A reputation for professional excellence with integrity

  • Accurate understanding and technical analysis

    Accurate understanding and technical analysis

  • National and International Experience

    National and International Experience

  • 34 years in private legal practice

    34 years in private legal practice

  • A focus on events and consequences, not gossip

    A focus on events and consequences, not gossip

  • Helping lawyers, brokers, accountants, surveyors and other professions

    Helping lawyers, brokers, accountants, surveyors and other professions

  • There when you need him

    There when you need him

Telling Tales August 2017

24 Aug 17

Telling Tales

Exemplary situations of risk or crisis. This month:

Last week I received a publicity email from a professional mediator, headed “Should Have Gone to Mediation” and listing various case scenarios where losing combatants paid heavily for their commitment to litigation: - A £20k horse-sale dispute generating £240,000 legal costs; a professional negligence defence to clear a name or reputation; a dispute between neighbours over a minor property right; a child vs step-parent fight over an estate inheritance; and so on. Most often, litigation ‘all the way’ is coerced unavoidably by commercial expediency, or by passion or dogma on one side or both.  Sometimes it is because earlier compromise opportunities are missed or mishandled by professional advisers or intermediaries.

However, the league leader in the hierarchy of regrets is when costs are allowed to escalate beyond an acceptable pain threshold before the chance of winning, or price of losing, become reckonable enough to inform the litigation gamble: in effect, failures to stop digging from holes whose depth and dangers are not properly measured until too late. Controlling this risk is often extremely difficult, achieved more often by luck and experienced instinct than by careful planning.  Nevertheless, there are some sound ground rules…

DO

  • Identify and distinguish the key issues of fact and law whose success prospects are reckonable on known information, from those which are not;
  • Reckon, or conservatively best-guess, the costs of getting more reliable information and assess their proportionality against the value/s in dispute.
  • Have an exit strategy: Identify and conserve relationships and avenues through which negotiated resolutions might be explored.

DON’T

  • Misread other-party aggressions as proof of intransigence or pointlessness of exploring compromise: Everyone has their price.
  • Overestimate strengths, or weaknesses.
  • Underestimate costs /time incurred and to be incurred.

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Professional Risk Expertise

Mike Willis has worked with a diverse range of professions including...

The FMWL Approach …

  • Accurate understanding and technical analysis;
  • Focus on duty, causal event(s) and consequences; not gossip…
  • Sensitive but objective empathy;
  • Overarching commerciality; and
  • Clear aims, with vision where necessary to explore indirect routes to solutions.