As a litigator myself and as a mediator for the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, I believe in mediation. All parties start out thinking that their side will win, but, in the end, one side will be right and one side will be wrong. Trials are zero-sum, and just getting there is expensive. You pay with your money, with your emotional energy, and with your time. What else could you be doing with those resources?
Most cases settle eventually. Long ago, I came to believe that mediation could help more cases settle sooner, with better outcomes for the parties before the big expenses piled up, and I became involved in mediation as a service to the bar and to the community. I have mediated for Superior Court from the earliest days of its mediation program, and, more or less mirroring my own practice, in twenty-five years I’ve mediated personal injury cases, medical malpractice cases, employment issues, landlord-tenant issues, commercial cases. “corporate divorce” cases, real estate cases, tax cases, family disputes, etc., etc., etc.
I am pleased to offer private mediation services. Because mediation is not zero-sum, risk can be managed more creatively than in a courtroom. My goal is to shepherd the parties to a settlement by helping them think through risks, possible outcomes, and solutions using my experience as a lawyer, as a mediator, and as a human being. I like to help cases settle, and I’ve helped settle a lot of cases.
Many litigants believe that they need a retired judge to mediate; my own experience tells me that some judges are good and some are not so good, and the difference is less their past as a judge than their legal acumen, their empathy, their patience, their persistence, and their common sense, attributes that any good mediator can possess. A good mediator is exactly not a judge – a good mediator doesn’t impose a resolution but with patience and respect walks the parties to their own resolution.