Resolving Your Case Through Mediation

Attorney Michael J. Betts serves as a mediator in a wide range of litigation matters, including securities litigation, banking litigation, employment litigation, insurance litigation and noncompete cases. Mr. Betts is on the approved roster of neutrals for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He also has been approved by the court to serve as an e-discovery special master and mediator. Additionally, Mr. Betts is on the American Arbitration Association’s national arbitrator panel for commercial and consumer cases. He also has been certified by FINRA Dispute Resolution as an approved arbitrator and mediator.

Understanding Our Approach To Mediation

Mr. Betts employs a hybrid style of mediation that blends “facilitative” and “evaluative” approaches. Once he learns the case background, factual and legal issues at play, Mr. Betts draws on over 35 years of experience to help the parties evaluate the risks and expense of continued litigation.

Mr. Betts frequently applies “decision tree” analyses during mediation and has found this to be a valuable tool to help parties reach common ground. Mr. Betts rejects the approach used in many mediations, where the role of the mediator is reduced to shuttling settlement proposals back and forth between the parties, without offering an objective evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s positions.


Decision Tree Analysis

Decision tree analysis is a tool that quantifies uncertainties to determine a lawsuit’s reasonable settlement value. It is a very effective exercise that helps parties evaluate their case given the probabilities of possible outcomes and determines the risks, costs and benefits associated with each.

How Does Decision Tree Analysis Work?

Mr. Betts is a licensee of a sophisticated software program which builds a decision tree reflecting the possible outcomes of a lawsuit and values the case based on the weighted average of each possible outcome.

Many parties – particularly business executives in commercial litigation matters and business disputes – prefer the disciplined approach used in decision tree analysis to simply relying on the intuition of their counsel and/or the mediator concerning the value of their case.

When Mr. Betts employs decision tree analysis, parties help build the tree and provide the underlying assumptions that predict the possibilities of various outcomes. This usually increases the parties’ “buy-in” of the settlement value, a critical component to helping the parties agree to a reasonable settlement.

Efficient, Cost-Effective Strategies


Mr. Betts is sensitive to the cost of mediation and structures mediations to efficiently use the parties’ resources. Mr. Betts can conduct shortened, half-day mediation sessions if requested. When permitted by court rules, Mr. Betts can also structure a “virtual” online mediation or a telephonic mediation to reduce costs. Although in most cases in-person sessions are regarded as most desirable (and may be required by court rules), a virtual or telephonic mediation may prove to be the most efficient approach, particularly when significant travel by the parties and their counsel is involved or when scheduling a timely in-person session may be impracticable.

Mr. Betts’s hourly mediation rate is $300 (shared by the parties). Quotes for flat fees for half-day or full day sessions are available upon request.


Learn Whether Mediation Is Right For Your Case

 For additional information about the mediation services provided by Michael J. Betts LLC, or to schedule a mediation session, please call 412-935-7073. You may also contact our Pittsburgh office online.