Tips for Land Mediation Success – Part Four

These are tips for land mediation success from Attorney and Mediator Philip Hundl. Call or text 800-266-4870 for an appointment. You can meet with Mr. Hundl by phone, online, or in person.

Tips for Land Mediation Success – Part Four

Summary of Tips for Land Mediation Success – Part Four

Hi, I’m Philip Hundl. I’m an attorney and mediator with a practice that focuses on land litigation and land dispute mediation. We’re here in this video series talking about my top 10 suggestions and tips to attorneys and parties to successfully resolve their land dispute. These are things that I’ve seen as a mediator, and also as an attorney in many, many, many mediations that have helped me reach a resolution in a case. I’ve seen these tips help me as the mediator to bring the parties to a deal in land dispute mediation. So we’re at number seven and these things that are in really no particular order, more, if anything, they’re in quasi-chronological order. Some of the earlier tips were sort of pre-mediation tips.

Number Seven – Bring the Technology You Need to the Mediation

We’re now at tip number seven, and this is to bring the laptop charger and the mobile cell phone hotspot. What I really mean by that is to bring the right technology to the mediation.

We can go on and on about how technology has changed our lives, changed the practice of law, and changed mediations. We’re mediating now during Covid. Many are Zoom mediations now.

When we start mediation, I use the term “gerrymandering” tracts of land sometimes. It’s extremely important to have the right technology at the mediation so that when you’re talking about the land, the easement, the part being taken, you can demonstrate it via technology. You can use technology to illustrate the different proposals that are going back and forth. What does a proposal really look like on the map?

Yeah, I’ve got lots of different examples of this. We had the specific tract of land we were trying to partition displaying on Google Earth. When we wanted to move different partition lines, the clients and the attorneys wanted to know what does that look like as acreage? Once we started talking about acreage and moving this line, we could see what was affected by each proposed boundary line.

The parties and attorneys could see if a proposed boundary was close to the pond. Did the boundary line take a big oak tree into account? You could really narrow down what a possible settlement would look like.

The technology made it more likely that no one was surprised and no one would try to then set aside potentially mediation because of representations of things they didn’t understand at the mediation. The technology promoted land mediation success. I think it was helpful for the parties to visualize boundaries in making a decision.

Sometimes a client might say he or she absolutely wants two more acres than some other person. Technology allows the parties to experiment with boundaries to determine where the two acres might come from. On some of these big ranches, moving boundaries a little significantly affects the number of acres.

I’ve also seen situations where attorneys do not have this type of technology to illustrate boundaries or calculate acreages. The parties in those situations couldn’t make decisions at mediation, and the cases weren’t resolved at mediation. So bring the right technology to help clients visualize what a potential deal would look like.

Number Eight – Have Patience During the Mediation

Number eight is have patience. Forget about the estimated time of departure or ETD from mediation. There is no ETD in mediation when the parties are working in good faith to resolve the case.

Mediation can be a marathon, not a sprint. Can half-day land dispute mediation be successful? I don’t think a complicated dispute about land can be mediated in a half day.

Half-day mediation might be successful in some fairly straightforward condemnation matters where all the easement issues have been pared down. Perhaps we’re only focusing on the monetary compensation part. Sure, those have been done in a half a day.

But as attorneys, we need to set the expectations of our clients that a half day might not be enough time. We may not get out of here and beat rush hour before five o’clock.

The parties may be far apart at three o’clock in the afternoon. Then all of a sudden at 5:36 pm there’s a huge movement. We see that a lot. I think it comes down to people truly start thinking about what it would look like to get this case resolved. They think about the peace of mind and relief they would have.

They might realize that they can continue to spend a lot of money, time and energy on litigation or reach a deal. That’s when you see a huge movement later in the day and we’ve had mediations continue on until late into the hours.

But as long as there’s momentum or there’s movement in a case, I always recommend that we keep going to squeeze as much possible settlement potential out of the case.

So we’re all the way to tip number eight for land mediation success. Now, going to move on to tip number nine.