Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Foreclosure rules

Another article about courts implementing rules for residential foreclosures. Click here for the article.

Is mediation killing big law firms?


According to this blogger, one of the reasons leading to Heller Ehrman's demise (you can view its website here, which doesn't contain fancy graphics, just the firm news about its bankruptcy filing) is that within a 45 day period in 2007, Heller lost 25% of its litigation work due to settlements.

You don't have to be a managing partner to know that's bad news for a firm's bottom line (unless you are on the plaintiff's side of things and obtain a big settlement in favor of your client).

Settlements are tricky creatures. From a firm perspective, a settlement means that there are no more billable hours. So no more firm revenue. From a client perspective, settlement means certainty as to its future budget, a conclusion to uncertain outcome in court, and creativity in how the case is resolved.

This inherent, well, conflict, between the firm's bottom-line financial pressure and the client's goals has always been something that confronts me.

With the proliferation of alternative dispute resolution, and fewer and fewer cases going to trial, will we see a demise of big firms--because too many settlements in a quarter can zap the firm's cash flow?

Mediating dog bark cases

Ever heard your neighbor's dog bark. And bark. And bark.

Or was it your dog?

Arizona is sending dog bark cases to mediation, according to this article.

Having handled a dog-barking case before, I know that these cases are ripe for mediation and resolution by sitting down with your neighbor, instead of fighting with your neighbor.


Ohio Foreclosure Mediation

A judge comments on the benefits of mediation of foreclosure-related cases. A copy of the article can be found here. Judge Joseph Schmenk noted that both borrower and lender can come out ahead by mediating these types of cases, instead of trying them.

Foreclosure Mediation

The American Bar Association published an excellent web page devoted to mediation of residential foreclosures. You can view the site here. Currently, ten states have developed legislation relating to mediating these types of disputes.