Alternate Dispute Resolution

I am a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Circuit Mediator, Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator and a Fellow in the American College of e-Neutrals. A significant part of my law practice is devoted to Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR).

When asked at a social events as to what I do, I always respond “I help people solve their disputes.”

ADR is a process in whichthe parties to litigation choose a method whereby their dispute can be handled outside of the rules of procedure that govern the court and parties in determining the outcome of their differences.  Statistics tell us that around 95% of the cases that go through the court system do not reach trial for one reason or another.  Thus, negation skills and ADR become extremely important.  ADR usually takes the form of mediation or arbitration.

Businesswoman arguing with co-worker in office“Mediation” is a process whereby a neutral third person, called a mediator, acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision making authority rests with the parties.

The success of the mediation depends on the skills and preparation of the parties as well as those of the mediator.  In mediation, the parties are the author of their own fate.  What that means is they have the opportunity write the last chapter of the book on their dispute.  The outcome of the case is turned over to a jury consisting of six strangers who will make the decision for the parties, and never see themagain.Florida is one of the few states that have rules and statutes governing the mediation process.

“Arbitration” is a process whereby a neutral third person or panel, called an arbitrator or arbitration panel, considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties and renders a decision. Arbitration can either be binding, usually as a result of contract provisions or agreement, or mandatory non-binding arbitration.As a mediator with more than 40 years of combined civil trial and mediation experience, I come to the mediation well-prepared. I listen carefully to the parties during the mediation in order to validate and vindicate where appropriate; help create meaning; and provide a safe space for your stories to be heard. My role as a mediator is to act as a cognitive counselor and negotiation coach, and help your client avoid the decisional errors that plague many attorneys in negotiation.

Virtually any type of case can be mediated or arbitrated.  Mediation of E-Discovery disputes have become increasingly more popular, and I have devoted a significant part of my practice to E-Discovery and Electronically Stored Information (ESI). One of the important advantages of mediation is the confidentiality aspect of the process.