“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”- Abraham Lincoln

I was sitting in mediation and looking at Facebook on my phone while waiting on the mediator to return, and I saw where someone posted this quote.  This quote is a great quote for mediation and life.  In mediation whether it is personal injury or divorce all the parties and the lawyers are faced with uncertainties about the what will happen in the future.  The lawyer’s job in mediation is to simply predict the future for their client. ” This is how much money you will get if you go to trial.” “The Judge is probably going to do this in your case.”  “This isn’t going to look good to a Judge or Jury.”  The only way to be able to make these predictions is through years of experience.

I used to hate going to mediation.  I was younger then and was more worried about billable hours that would gain the praise from my bosses. If a case settled then I couldn’t milk the case for anymore of those coveted billable hours.  After trying some jury trials and many more bench trials, I have changed my perception of mediation.  Mediation allows you to create your future without prediction.  In a personal injury case (car accident, medical malpractice, slip and fall) you can know when the mediation ends how much money you will have in the future.  One mediator I know calls this “back pocket money”.   It will not be left in the hands of a group of people you don’t know and will never know.  You can also structure your settlement at mediation and know exactly how much money you or a loved one will have a date certain in the future.  Thereby, creating your future rather than predicting it.

In a divorce case it is even more important to take the opportunity to create your own future at mediation.  I think the Judges I know will agree with me that there are way too many domestic cases on their calendars.  You will rarely get the opportunity to say everything you want to say to a Judge and frankly a Judge can not take the time to absorb all that you have to say about your case.   It is almost a guarantee that both sides will leave Court unhappy about some part of a Judge’s ruling.  It is almost like Judges want it that way.  Nobody is completely happy.  I can not say that everybody leaves mediation happy either, but you can control the outcome unlike going to court.  Everybody has priorities in a case.  One is thing is more important than another.  Every party in a case has risks.  You need to eliminate the risks and create your own future.

In life, you need to create rather than react.  I really enjoyed practicing with my friends at Greer Tisinger, and thankfully we remain great friends.  But after much thought, I have made this decision to start my own law firm so that I can create the future for me and my family.  I am creating a law firm that will bring me happiness in my profession and hopefully a lot of money.  Although you certainly can have one without the other it would be good to have both.  Either way, I will be the one creating it.