The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Mark Twain

h/t Pastor Paul Kim
John 12:20-26 ESV

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to to something you want done because he wants to do it. Dwight D. Eisenhower


“. . . In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that all his disciples can be ‘peacemakers’ (Matthew 5:9). Peacemakers are people who, through making peace with God, have finally learned how to admit flaws and weakness, how to surrender their pride, how to love without the need to control every situation. These new skills have enormous power to defuse conflicts, to facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation between people. Christians should be fanning out into the world being peacemakers, agents of reconciliation among the races and classes, among the members of families, and between neighbor and neighbor.” Timothy Keller, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ, pp. 110-111 (2016) Viking.

Facts matter in mediation and trial

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion,
but not their own facts.”

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927-2003)

Durable settlements and wining trial strategies rest on a foundation of facts.

Your opinion of the opposing party will get you into the courtroom or the mediation conference room. But remember that the quality of your facts will determine the quality of your settlement or your litigation result, and plan accordingly.

The reality of preparing for mediation and trial

War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means. 

Karl (Carl) von Clausewitz (1780-1831)

The statement that ‘war is a continuation of politics by other means’ is important not because Clausewitz said it but because it reflects a fundamental reality.

Christopher Bassford, Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815-1945, Chapter 4 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994).

The fundamental reality of litigation, mediation, arbitration and trial is that each is a continuation of the other, and the best results in mediation are achieved by those best prepared for war.

Parties who attend mediation knowing the facts of their case, their likelihood of proving the facts that matter, their litigation budget, and their closing argument are more likely than not to settle. Your ability to secure a durable settlement increases in direct proportion to your readiness, willingness, and ability to fight. Mediation is not a place to find out the value of your case, it’s a place to find out if you’re going to settle the case you have.

To secure peace is to prepare for war.

Karl (Carl) von Clausewitz

Preparation secures peace in mediation by defining and enabling choices.

Your settlement should be an option, not a consequence of mediation.

Lincoln’s Notes on the Practice of Law

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser – in fees, and expenses, and waste of time. As a peace-maker the lawyer has a superior opertunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Abraham Lincoln, Speeches and Writings 1832-1858, “Notes on the Practice of Law” (1850?), pp. 245-246, emphasis in original. Edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher (The Library of America, 1989).

The Art of War

To win without fighting is best.

Sun Tzu (544-496 BC)

Sun Tzu, The Art of War, chapter 3, pp. 66-72, translated by Thomas Cleary (Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1988).