Mediation: Quick-Cooking Can Be as Good as Traditional


Michael S. Orfinger UWWM Principal Michael S. Orfinger

When I was growing up, there was amidst our pots and pans a pressure cooker.  This was indeed a formidable-looking device, what with its locking lid and rattling pressure release valve at the top.  Yes, it could cook a meal in 15 minutes, but one false move and dinner could detonate all over the kitchen.  Even putting the pressure cooker away was fraught with peril; dropping it (or even just the lid) on one’s foot could prove disabling for quite some time.  A much safer and sedate appliance was the crock pot, assuming one could wait for eight hours or so for the cooking process to run its course.  One would not try duplicating a pressure cooker recipe in the crock pot, or vice versa.  Doing so would in one instance result in an almost certain explosion, and in the other instance in raw food.

Sometimes mediation participants ask what’s taking the other party so long in the other room, and I have used the foregoing as a metaphor.  I have said that some settlements are better prepared in a pressure cooker, while some are better prepared in a crock pot.  In other words, certain cases lend themselves to a more fast-paced approach to negotiation; while other cases require at least one of the parties to let their cogitations and agitations simmer over the course of a day.

Starting on June 10, 2013, Upchurch Watson White & Max will introduce a new program, “Mediation On-Call”.  This program is designed for personal injury cases in which the limits of insurance coverage or the plaintiff’s demand are $100,000 or less – exactly the type of case we believe is best suited to a fast-paced negotiation.  These cases will be mediated by a seasoned member of the firm’s distinguished panel of neutrals, which coupled with modest mediation fees (subject to a three-hour minimum charge), should benefit clients, lawyers, and insurance professionals equally.

A lawsuit is important to the litigants regardless of its dollar value.  But we recognize the economic realities that parties, insurers, and attorneys face when mediating certain cases.  Mediation On-Call is designed to address those realities while still providing neutral services of uncompromising quality.  To learn more about Mediation On-Call, visit our website at, or feel free to give me a call.


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