Is Advocacy at a Mediation an Oxymoron?

On 3 June 2016, Robert Angyal SC presented a three-part seminar to about 60 solicitors at the Law Society of South Australia.  The first part of the seminar asked and answered the question: is advocacy at a mediation an oxymoron?

Angyal SC told the seminar that advocacy at mediation is not an oxymoron – a self-contradiction – but instead is a vital skill for the modern lawyer.  This is because in NSW a very high proportion of all civil cases goes to mediation.  By definition, only those cases that do not settle at mediation proceed to a Court hearing.

This fact means that a lawyer has a higher likelihood of representing a client at a mediation than in Court – perhaps a much higher likelihood, given the fact that a substantial proportion of cases settle at mediation.  This reality requires lawyers to recognise that it was important to master the skills needed to represent clients at mediation effectively.  Angyal SC told the seminar that mediation advocacy comprises seven distinct skills – only one of which is common to traditional Courtroom advocacy.

You can read more on mediation advocacy in Robert Angyal's Advocacy at Mediation: An Oxymoron or an Essential Skill for the Modern Lawyer? (chapter 15 in M. Legg (ed) The Future of Dispute Resolution (Lexis Nexis 2012).