By Steven G. Mehta

Recently I was reminded of the the old adage, “never judge a book by its cover.”  Prior to mediation, one of the parties to the mediation wrote that the case will never settle.  At that point the attorney for the party proceeded to write a compendium about why the case will never settle.

At some point after the third paragraph, I even had an inkling that the case might not settle and that my Friday afternoon might suddenly become clear.   However, after a short reverie of what I might do in the afternoon, I came back to my senses and went back to my internal mantra, “The case will settle!  They Just Don’t Know it Yet.”

During the mediation, it became surprisingly evident that the case would likely settle within a particular range.  I was pleasantly surprised at how fast it had gone.  This was party because of the fact that I had such low expectations of the outcome of the case.  In the end, it was like any other mediation that was successful.

The Moral of the Story:  Even if the parties say that the case will never settle, don’t believe it.  It may yet surprise you.  Moreover, as a party, you should be careful to put in a brief about your absolute conviction that the case won’t settle because you may create a self fulfilling prophecy.  Your words may just create  a mindset that is unbreakable.