Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) broadly refers to a set of discrete methodologies used to settle controversies between disagreeing parties. The most common of these methodologies are arbitration and mediation. Like everything else in life, picking the right person to serve as your mediator or arbitrator is as important as choosing the right doctor, lawyer, architect, or business partner. Experience, training, background, personality and accomplishment are important metrics when evaluating any arbitrator or mediator.
Anyone can be as an arbitrator. Indeed, a new arbitrator is “hatched” every day. Some turn out to be good. Others not so much. What separates the good from the bad is the ability to inately understanding how to be an effective arbitrator. That skill comes from knowing how to manage the arbitration process, respecting due process for all parties, understanding the boundaries of the Federal Arbitration Act and, in Delaware, the Uniform Arbitration Act, understanding the arbitration agreement, actively listening to and understanding evidence, understanding legal and factual issues, and articulating a rational outcome.
Since 1994 I’ve arbitrated, both as the sole arbitrator and as a panel arbitrator, hundreds of cases including insurance coverage, personal injury, construction defect, breach of employment, commercial, construction, shareholder agreements and contracts. Not once has an arbitration award I’ve been involved in been challenged. Not one. Why? With 27 years of experience, including 10 as a Special Discovery Master in the Superior Court of Delaware and another 17 years in private practice, I know from first hand experience how to manage hearings, how to honor due process, and how to avoid reversible errors. I take the time to thoroughly understand the factual and legal issues underlying the case and arbitration parameters. Most importantly, however, I understand how to resolve a case to withstand the scrutiny of a reviewing court.
Mediation is a “process” that employs intensive listening, focused, managed engagement of counsel and the parties, constructive feedback, defining or clarifying goals, establishing priorities, gut checks and an unending awareness of situtional intangibles and personal dynamics. An effective mediator understands the mediation process and how to use it. That means understanding the how, why, and when the process elements can most effectively be engaged to facilitate a resolution. Why is the process important? Because properly engaged the process enables an effective mediator to help parties move beyond entrenched litigation positions. The only way to become an effective mediator is through a combination of training and experience in mediation.
Conaway-Legal has over 20 years experience mediating all kinds of disputes from the large complex, multi-party, multi-level insurance, construction, bankruptcy, environmental, commercial cases, business brake-ups, law firm break-ups, intra-company disputes, governance and financial disputes between alternate entity members, adversary and bankruptcy preference claims, mass torts, employment, personal injury claims all the way down to property line disputes and barking dogs.
That experience was shaped by continious training that started in 1994 when the Superior Court of Delaware sponsored a 40 hour, professionally taught mediation program. In 1996, I attended a weeklong intensive civil mediation training program at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. Two years later I returned to the NJC as an adjunct instructor teaching civil mediation. Over the years I’ve attended dozens of other mediation training programs including the St. Johns University/American Bankruptcy Institute weekly course on bankruptcy mediation. For at least the last 10 years, I’ve served as a mentor for the Superior Court’s ongoing mediation training.
Few mediators can match the experience and training that Conaway-Legal brings to the table. Yet, while all of that experience and training are baseline critical, the real world litmus test of a mediator’s skill is their success facilitating resolution. I’ve sucessfuly resolved 1,000’s of cases as a mediator. That record is a bona fide reflection of skill.
There are many benefits to alternative dispute resolution for various types of civil and commercial disputes. For capable ADR assistance, you can trust my knowledge and experience. To schedule a consultation at my Wilmington office, call Conaway-Legal LLC at 302-433-6974 or contact me online today.