"Meet The Mediator" Series: Meet Kathy Cochran
Meet Pacific ADR Mediator/ Arbitrator Kathy Cochran!
Kathy Cochran was one of the founding members of Seattle based firm Wilson Smith Cochran & Dickerson where her practice focused on defending complex medical malpractice and pharmaceutical product liability matters. She practiced law for 41 years as a trial lawyer before retiring and pursuing alternative dispute resolution and her passion: photography.
What types of disputes have you handled?
Kathy: I have handled medical malpractice and personal injury mediations, as well as contract disputes and arbitration matters, most recently Balance Billing Arbitration for the No Surprises Act.
What is your mediation style?
Kathy: My primary goal is to gain trust from all parties and their lawyers, and then to proceed honestly to broker an agreement. You might say my mediation style is facilitative. I often help clients find a solution that works best for them and their dispute.
What was your most memorable mediation experience?
Kathy: In one mediation, parties were polarized both in terms of numbers but also in terms of their version of the facts and issues. It took hours, but I finally brokered a settlement.
What was your worst ADR experience and why?
Kathy: My worst experience occurs when the parties are simply complying with the rule requiring a mediation, but have no intent to settle. While these mediations can often be quick, if the parties cannot or do not want to agree on anything both time and money are being wasted. It is more useful to consider mediation as a parallel process than a hurdle to be overcome in order to move to litigation, even if it is compulsory.
What are some things to keep in mind before or during mediation?
Kathy: Be prepared to discuss both the merits and the risks of your side of the case. Be sure to identify those same factors faced by opposing counsel. Be prepared to be honest with the mediator and discuss any client issues (outside the presence of the client) that may need to be addressed. There were times when I would start a mediation and throughout its duration become aware of surprising client behaviors. While seemingly an innocent afterthought, the clients DO affect settlement negotiations. Being prepared/informed is far better than being surprised.
Do you have any useful tips for selecting a mediator that best fits your case?
Kathy: I would start with experience. I for example, am most drawn to complex cases and issues which involve the analysis of medical records. I have 45+ year's worth of that experience along with courtroom consultancy and experience in private trials. I have seen and heard it all, which makes me a well rounded ADR professional.