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Dispute resolution (Law)


This Article sets out various perspectives that litigants, lawyers and judges commonly bring to settlement conferences, perspectives on lawyer-client relations, negotiation, and the role of the judicial host. In examining the opinions in the Heileman case, along with other materials, the Article attempts to uncover the underlying assumptions about the settlement conference that informed the behavior of the judges and lawyers in that case, arguing that Heileman's explanation lies in the lawyers' and judges' tendency to embrace one of two radically different visions of the settlement conference. The Article then catalogs the advantages and disadvantages of involving clients in settlement conferences and describes the many different ways in which a client can participate, and offers general suggestions about when and for what purposes a judicial host should require a litigant or a representative of an organizational litigant to accompany the litigant's lawyer to a settlement conference. It then proposes an explanation for the expression "full authority to settle the case" as it applies to an organization. Finally, the Article reviews the obligations of the client or client representative once he or she appears at the settlement conference and suggests a special benefit flowing from client participation in settlement conferences.