How Joe DiBenedetto Mediates

Once retained, he begins his preparation with a review of the court docket, retrieving from the court file the pleadings, as well as any relevant motions and decisions. This is usually completed prior to the initial scheduling conference, so that he is aware of the case’s status and issues when discussing with counsel how the mediation should proceed.

He typically asks for 10-20 page mediation briefs from each party, together with a joint binder containing any underlying agreements, key documents, previously filed affidavits and briefs, and any relevant deposition testimony. Read More...

After their initial submissions, Joe DiBenedetto will contact counsel separately to discuss the underlying issues, request additional information or documents, and/or seek legal support for an issue or claim. There will sometimes be several such ex parte calls. They are designed to jumpstart the actual mediation session. They enable counsel and the  mediator to become acquainted. And they identify for counsel any issues of special interest to the mediator before the session actually starts.

Unless counsel prefer otherwise, Joe DiBenedetto usually avoids oral presentations by each side at the outset of a mediation. After a short introductory conference, he will meet with each side separately, convening joint sessions when needed. 

If the initial session fails, it is Joe DiBenedetto’s practice to contact counsel periodically, or on a going forward basis, to asses whether there has been any change in the parties’ settlement perspective. Joe DiBenedetto will make these periodic inquires without fee. Such settlement discussions can be held through counsel or if appropriate, a second meditation session can be scheduled. 

What Joe DiBenedetto Brings to the Table

It is imperative that the persons with decision-making authority know that the mediator has command of the facts, understands the legal issues, and is experienced with the subject matter of the dispute. They must be comfortable that he has tried cases and argued appeals, and is familiar with the judge and jury pool that will hear the case if it is not settled. Joe DiBenedetto brings these attributes to the mediation process. He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state courts throughout the country. His cases spanned virtually every economic sector and industry, with clients ranging from small closely-held family businesses, to multinational and publicly traded companies. His clients included individual entrepreneurs, representatives of insurance carriers, the CEO’s of NYSE companies, and activist shareholders.

Joe DiBenedetto understands that every litigant has uniquely different interests and perspectives when considering settlement. It is this accumulated experience that enables Joe DiBenedetto to approach each case creatively, and to reason with parties grappling with resolution of a case in which they are emotionally and financially invested.

Mediation Fees

Joe DiBenedetto typically charges a flat fee that is based on the size and complexity of the case. This fee will be set after consultation with the parties, and includes all case preparation, and up to ten hours of session time on the scheduled mediation date. His case preparation includes pre-session review of the court filings, analysis of the mediation briefs and exhibits submitted by the parties, his own research, and pre-session telephone conferences with counsel. Alternatively, if the parties prefer, the mediation can proceed on an hourly fee basis.

There are no administrative or additional fees except disbursements when mediation requires travel outside of the New York metropolitan area. Mediations can be adjourned or cancelled without fee up to seven days before the scheduled session.

Mediation sessions can be held at counsel’s office, or if the parties prefer, conference facilities arranged by Joe DiBenedetto. If there is any fee for the latter, it will be ratably split between or among the parties. Fees for service as an arbitrator, or for predictive analysis of a case, will vary, and should be discussed with Joe DiBenedetto at the outset of the retention.

 Conflict Clearance

Now that Joe DiBenedetto has retired from Winston & Strawn LLP, conflict clearance is simple, and typically given on a same day basis. Given his long tenure at Winston & Strawn LLP, Joe DiBenedetto requests that, in their initial call, counsel disclose to him and opposing counsel whether the party they represent is a current or former Winston client.