Alternative Dispute Resolution is designed to help parties avoid the stress, expense, time-consuming, unpredictable, frustrating nature of litigation. One needs just three (3) components to successfully implement an ADR process: an experienced, qualified neutral; willingness of the parties to participate; and an effective ADR process.
While representing clients, Rick discovered that his most effective and successful mediations were those in which he spoke privately with the mediator days in advance of the mediation session. Now, as a mediator, Rick encourages such conversations, so he can better understand each party’s intent; and ask that anything deemed helpful for gleaning that intent be shared with him in confidence. Rick believes that mediation submissions are helpful; and thoroughly absorbs them in advance; so he is well-prepared to discuss the claims and defenses, and be an active participant in the mediation process. (He also encourages, although does not require, the parties to share their submissions with opposing counsel. It’s difficult to convince one side they should pay more or accept less if they are unaware of the ‘chip’ that would otherwise convince them to do so.)
In arbitration, Rick is a big believer in efficiency. Hearings should be handled in a cost-effective manner; designed to present the important information to allow him to make a valuable and informed decision.
This quote is often attributed to Yogi Berra, who first uttered the phrase about baseball’s 1973 National League pennant race. But it also applies to Rick’s mediation philosophy: stick-to-it-ness! Sometimes, a day isn’t enough. Sometimes, more discovery is needed. Sometimes, the parties need to cool off. Or, an adjuster or a family member needs to be consulted. Whatever it takes, Rick’s not done until everyone is done – and then some. After the scheduled mediation, if more time is needed, we’ll book it. Or Rick will continue working the phones for hours, days, weeks – whatever it takes. Because, as Yogi said:
“It Ain’t Over ‘til It’s Over!”