Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

# 54. They make things worse

Mediate and be damned

The CIA is alleged to have launched 638 assassination attempts against Fidel Castro including one using an exploding cigar.
Unfortunately assassination is not available to litigants-they are condemned to fight their enemy in the Courts.
Many people find that issuing a writ feels better than sex (depending, of course, on who their current partner is). However in some entrenched cases, after a year or so, all parties can feel like they have been through the mill.
At this stage neither party is prepared to give up but they may be ready for Mediation which is where you meet the other party with their lawyers with the object of settling the dispute.
In the ‘70’s there was no mediation that I recall. Clients were advised not to speak to their opponent. A writ would be served and skirmishes would occur up to the hearing where a huge number of cases settled at the court door. Few facts were admitted. Communication with what we still call “the other side” would be for the most part aggressive. Early settlement would be initiated by the defendant, if at all.

Acting outside these bounds was seen as a sign of weakness. In many cases it still is.
What happens:

1. The lawyers agree on a suitable Mediator usually (yes, you guessed it) another practising lawyer.
2. The parties attend the Mediator’s office.
3. A lawyer on each side makes a brief case overview presentation (five minutes). This can be like the assegai waiving and chanting at the start of “Zulu” or a “Budget Speech” depending on your lawyer.
4. The parties split up into different rooms and once apart the Mediator will tell each party that their case stinks and it will cost them far more that they thought.
5. The Mediator will then flit between the rooms conveying offers back and forth and nag the parties into offering far more than they ever expected until an agreement is reached.

The ideal finish to Mediation (from the Mediator’s twisted point of view) is that both parties walk away feeling that they have been done.

In a perfect world your enemy would leave the Mediation and be promptly run over by a bus. This seldom happens.

If you can't let it go and Mediation is not for you then there is always the exploding cigar.


  1. Hi sir,
    I chanced upon your blog when I clicked my own under 'interests' - 'humour' and see someone that I had always wanted to be, a humourist and a lawyer. Couldn't even be one!
    Yours is one great blog, so full of wit and information that a reader doesn't need to consult a law book, let alone a lawyer.
    Just one question, to take advantage of free legal advice; could you please browse through my blog to see if I have contravened copyright laws. The blog, actually, is done because I have so much time and also because I love 60s music and wish to share the experience with others.
    I shall always be loyal and true to your blog if you provide me this advice. Even if you don't, I'll be visiting yours often.

  2. I want to be a lawyer. These posts are funny :D, but i can understand the job. Thank U 4 the posts. Keep on :)

  3. Andy
    Free legal advice is generally not a big hit in legal circles.

    Try for resources on various legal subjects including copyright. Sign up the Law & Disorder eZine to get regular updates on law.

    But, if you are worried you may need to see a lawyer, depressing I know.

    Paul Brennan

  4. Dear Mr Prin

    Please do not allow me to put you off.

    Reason # 16 may give you some insight.

    Best of luck with your career in Hanoi.
    Paul Brennan

    P.S. Australians like to call people by a first name. A good western name would be "Paddy". It is my 20 year old son's name. Paddy Prin sounds good.