Negotiations and Trust/Martin Rosenfeld,JD

Posted on October 23, 2014


Michael Goodwin, a writer for the NY Daily News, recently wrote an article on the Obama Presidency entitled “A Toxic President”. Mr. Goodwin has been an unrelenting critic of the Obama policies over the years. However, in this piece he takes aim at the question of whether President Obama is trusted by the public. Pronouncements about “red lines” and “keeping your doctor under Obamacare” have clearly backfired on the President. Mr. Goodwin makes use of an apt metaphor, by stating that credibility is like a bank account. You make deposits in good times so you can make the needed withdrawals when the need arises.

In any discussion that is essential to a resolution of issues, credibility and honesty becomes a critical component. In litigation, exaggerated claims can be made; puffery is part of the way the game is played. In a mediation session, drama takes a back seat. What do you want and why do you want it is a more critical issue. A good mediation offers the parties a candid exchange of ideas and needs, so that real compromise can be reached. Because the discussions primarily take place face-to-face, the parties get to evaluate what is heartfelt and what is bogus. This is a likely reason for the finding of studies that a mediated agreement is much more likely to be heeded fully that will be the case for litigated agreements. Trust and credibility go a long way in life. This is no less so in divorce or commercial disputes. Mediate don’t litigate.