This joke came to mind when I read a guest post on Karl Bayer's Disputing blog about a planned lawyers' strike in Italy in response to a new statute mandating mediation prior to filing many kinds of civil cases. It seems these Italian lawyers might be worried about the prospect of seeing too many of their clients resolve their disputes without needing to hire a professional to file suit in court. Is fear of losing business the main motivating factor behind the lawyers' hostile reaction to this new law?
On second thought, I can think of some potentially legitimate reasons for concern about such a proposal. For one thing, making pre-filing mediation mandatory could be seen as contrary to the whole cooperative spirit of mediation. For another, clients who decide to proceed to mediation without representation might be in danger of waiving rights of which they are unaware. And clients who are required to jump through a settlement hoop in advance of filing suit might also be wasting time and money, in cases in which they would obtain better results by dragging their adversary to court as quickly as possible. Thus, I would not automatically assume that attorneys are only thinking about their own pocketbooks in demonstrating against this new law. They might also be trying to serve their clients' best interests.
Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.
(still from The Lincoln Lawyer)