A writer for the Long Beach (CA, my former home for 6 years) Post Sports wrote the following:
In one of the penultimate scenes from the film “Philadelphia”, Tom Hanks’ character waxes eloquently on the very real but somewhat infrequent joys of being a lawyer. His character states from the witness stand that “not very often, but sometimes, you get to be a part of justice being done.”
As an attorney, I can relate well to this concept of sporadic justice. Yet as rare as these moments have been in my legal life, even rarer still were there actual occurrences inside a courtroom. In fact, most of these moments occurred in the offices and conference rooms of professional mediators—individuals who remain neutral and attempt to reach dispute resolution through means other than legal opinions and court orders. During my tenure as a lawyer, I found the mediation process to be more effective and rewarding than the litigation process. It gave the litigating parties a sense that they were “having their day in court” without the drawbacks of actually being in court. Mediation often takes a fraction of the time that the court process does, is cheaper for the client and involves the actual parties to a far greater degree in the outcome than does the lawyer-dependent court process. Over the last ten years or so, most courts have now made it mandatory that parties mediate their cases before trial in an effort to reduce the amount of court time and tax dollars spent on litigating controversies that could otherwise be settled through less intrusive means.