Find Mediators Near You:

How Neutrals Can Provide Early Case Management of Construction Disputes

This article describes how neutrals can provide early case management and resolution services to help parties in construction disputes resolve them more efficiently. Lawyers are often trapped in a “prison of fear” which locks them into unnecessarily long and expensive litigation. Although lawyers sometimes initiate early negotiation without engaging a third party to manage the process, sometimes a neutral may be necessary or extremely helpful. This article describes how neutrals can help lawyers and parties build an “escape hatch” from the prison of fear.

In contrast to the movement to “unbundle” lawyers’ services by offering clients the option to retain lawyers to perform selected services “à la carte,” this article recommends that neutrals offer to “bundle” a broad range of case management services. In addition to services related to the ultimate resolution of a case, neutrals can orchestrate good working relationships between counsel, exchange of information and documents specifically needed for the process, attendance of particular individuals, participation of experts, preparation of the parties, scheduling and logistics of the process, and documenting procedural agreements, as appropriate. Neutrals may be able to provide these services more economically than the parties’ lawyers, provide assurance that no one will gain unfair advantage from the procedural arrangements, and permit a fair allocation between the parties of the case management costs. The ideas in this article are adapted from my book, Lawyering with Planned Early Negotiation: How You Can Get Good Results for Clients and Make Money (ABA 2011).

Attachments to this Article


John Lande

John Lande is the Isidor Loeb Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Law and former director of its LLM Program in Dispute Resolution.  He received his J.D. from Hastings College of Law and Ph.D in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He began mediating professionally in 1982 in California.… MORE >

Featured Members

View all

Read these next


New Jersey: Why Divorce Mediation is Needed More Than Ever

Spouses who are planning to get a divorce in New Jersey in 2023 are in for a very unpleasant surprise. There is a major court backlog that is causing significant...

By Roseann Vanella

Mediation Regulation

PGP Mediation Blog by Phyllis G. Pollack Recently, several different organizations have brought to my attention, a resolution on mediator regulation entitled SR-05-01-2012 proposed by Bay Area Lawyers For Individual...

By Phyllis Pollack

Book Review: The Healthy Divorce: Keys to Ending Your Marriage While Preserving your Emotional Well-Being

Gold, Lois. The Healthy Divorce: Keys to Ending your Marriage While Preserving your Emotional Well-Being. Sphinx Publishing, 2009. Reviewed by Joan B. Kelly, PhD This book is an updated version...

By Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D.