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Phil Hesketh – For the Difficult Cases

Phil Hesketh – For the Difficult Cases

On your website is your strap line: Phil Hesketh – For the difficult cases. What sort of thinking went into that?



Full Transcript

Well, it wasn’t an accident. It was plenty of thinking, and I think a few different iterations of the line. I’ve spoken to you before about real mediation has a problem in a sense, or the mediator has a problem, because it’s not used more frequently than it is. And I know that when I did the training I came out and I thought ‘Oh it’s the best thing since sliced bread and everybody’s bound to want to use it.’ So all you have to do is tell them, and they’ll bite. And it’ll happen.


So one of things that I thought, and particularly with the personal injury work I’m not exclusively a personal injury mediator, but I have 18 years as a practitioner and settled, I don’t know, hundreds, millions of pounds worth of compensation claims, not one mediation.


And so do personal injury lawyers or other dispute resolution lawyers have a problem resolving disputes that need mediation? Not apparently. They have joint settlement meetings, Part 36 offers, pick up the phone. When I was a kid doing personal injury law starting out, insurers would come to your office and you’d speak to them over the desk about it. So, we were selling, I was selling a product which people didn’t need, and this is Seth Godin’s marketing ideas coming out here, but you’re selling something which people say ‘Well, I really don’t need that,’ and in the case of mediation or staging a separate meeting, you’re adding a layer of cost. Because parties not only have to pay for their representation solicitors, barristers, [inaudible 0:17:46] they now have to pay for a mediator too. So, it’s about narrowing what you’re offering.


And what I’m saying to people is that ‘I’m not here to replace your everyday business. 99% of your cases you’re going to resolve in let’s say, traditional ways,’ of your offers, your round table settlement meetings, but there are some cases, and I’m describing them as ‘difficult cases’, where you do need some assistance. And a mediation is an assisted negotiation. What I’m about to try to help people recognise the types of cases which need, where I advise, to use that sort of phrase, and in the personal injury world it’s helping experienced litigators recognize the type of cases where a joint settlement meeting is going to run into difficulties. And it’s going to run into difficulties, for instance, if there are multi-parties, or what if the lawyers have fallen out, that relationship is broken down, or if the insurers, they want to take a look at the claimant to see if they really are incapable of working and so on.

So, it’s a message saying ‘Look, I’m not ramming this down your throat. It’s not for every case.’ I’m an experienced litigator, I know that. I’m not trying to pull the wool over your eyes. But there are some cases. It’s a small portion, and it’s a skill in recognising those, and using the right tool for the job.

About the mediator

Phil Hesketh Profile Pic

Phil trained as a Civil & Commercial Mediator with the ADR Group in 2006 and became a full time mediator in 2008. Since then he’s mediated a wide range of disputes including catastrophic injury claims, will disputes, commercial contracts, boundary disputes to name a few. He is a former solicitor with 18 years litigation experience with two of the countries leading claimant personal injury claims. Phil is incredibly passionate about... View Mediator