I practiced as business, construction and commercial litigator for over 25 and as a wills, trusts and probate attorney for the past 4 years, I have handled a wide variety of cases. From my early days in a large firm (Schatz & Schatz, Ribicoff & Kotkin) dealing with securities litigation and corporate control transactions, to my experience in a mid-sized firm (Cohn & Birnbaum) focusing primarily on troubled loan workouts, foreclosures and bankruptcy, to my position in a smaller general practice firm (Jacobs, Walker, Rice & Barry) handling employment, construction, contract, partnership and corporate disputes, and now as a solo practitioner focusing on wills, trusts and estates, not only have I developed subject matter expertise, but I have also learned a lot about what makes people fight and what makes them settle.
I combine this experience with my natural and learned skills as a mediator to help parties resolve their disputes in a constructive fashion. Aside from my broad and diverse experience, the most important attributes I bring to the mediation process are my patience and persistence, my listening skills and creativity, and a calm, professional yet comfortable demeanor.
Having tried dozens of cases to court and jury alike, and settled many cases on the courthouse steps, my view is that since most cases settle, the sooner the parties discuss settlement, the better it is for the clients.
My mediation mentor is the old TV cartoon character Gumby, because of his flexibility. I have a lot of tools in my belt and I employ whatever will work under the circumstances to resolve the dispute. My style is a blend of facilitative and evaluative. Depending on the input of the parties or their representatives, I generally start off in a facilitative mode and then, if necessary, become a bit more directive as the process moves forward. My reality testing process is subtly evaluative, but unless the parties request or suggest otherwise, I generally do not arrive at a number and then press the parties to meet that number. At impasse, I may suggest a settlement range, but that is usually more a reflection of where the parties are and where I think they need to go to get resolution, than my value of the case.
I am passionate about the mediation process, as I believe it offers, in the long run, better resolutions to disputes than either litigation or arbitration.