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The Elements of Disputes

by Timothy J. LangellaMDRS Neutral and Guest Blogger Business disputes come in all shapes and sizes, and often have both monetary and emotional elements.  Take this case, for example: Two brothers-in-law go into business together and form a partnership or closely held corporation, after marrying their respective wives (who are sisters).  After a rocky start, the…

What is the Difference Between Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce?

MEDIATION is an independent, voluntary, confidential process conducted by a mediator, who is neutral. Attorneys are not required. The mediator will: Assist you and your spouse in identifying those issues preventing settlement. Explore various avenues to resolution. Develop a settlement resolution acceptable to you and your spouse. Will prepare a Separation Agreement for presentation to…

Stuck in Divorce Court? Here is Your Last Chance to Cut Costs and Aggravation

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos Are you in divorce litigation? Are you having second thoughts – time standards, discovery cost, no trial in sight? Enough! You have complained to your attorney and your attorney reports that your spouse’s attorney has heard the same complaints from your spouse. Your attorney suggests mediation or conciliation. What is the…

MBA’s Conflict Resolution Week

By  Michael A. Zeytoonian, Member of the MDRS Panel of Neutrals/Guest Blogger An annual national tradition in the legal community is the celebration of “Conflict Resolution Week” (CRW) and “Conflict Resolution Day” (CRD) on the third week and the third Thursday of October respectively. This tradition reportedly started here in New England by the New…

Dispute Resolution Day in Massachusetts

Governor Baker has declared October the 19th  2017 Dispute Resolution Day in Massachusetts!  You can read Gov. Baker’s full announcement here: https://www.massbar.org/media/1807084/dr%20day%20proclamation.pdf  The day falls within Conflict Resolution Week and Baker urges all citizens of Massachusetts “to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance.”  Citizens deserve education and access to ALL appropriate forms of dispute resolution. October…

MDRS Reader Ranking Announcement

MDRS is pleased to announce being named 2nd place in the category of Dispute Resolution in Lawyers Weekly’s 2017 Reader Ranking Awards! With a strong finish behind JAMS (the self-proclaimed “largest private ADR provider in the world”), MDRS is truly honored to be recognized as the DR industry leaders we continuously strive to be. Stay…

The Case for Private Caucus

By Brian R. Jerome, Esq.: After a joint session, the mediator may ask to have private caucuses or meetings with each party and their counsel to further explore their position and flexibility for settlement. These private caucuses, like the full mediation process, are confidential; as such, the parties often find it easier and more appropriate…

A Giant Leap Forward: Dispute Resolution Drops the ‘A’ and Launches MBA Section

“Over the past decades, no area of practice has grown to have a wider impact on legal operations than dispute resolution.” -Brian Jerome The numbers don’t lie: 95% of pending personal injury lawsuits end in a pretrial settlement (according to Law Dictionary’s website), while legal news site Above the Law reports that only 1.5% of…

MDRS Settlement Days

What’s better than settling a claim? Settling 4-8 of them – all in a SINGLE DAY. MDRS is a leading provider of Settlement Days: mediation-focused marathons conducted at the insurer’s office where 4-8 cases are lined up for time-concentrated sessions with settlement as the primary goal. Secondary in nature, but perhaps equally as critical, are…

Recent Developments in DR

Notice to Bar Inviting Comment on Proposed Superior Court Initiatives. Comments due on or before March 4, 2016 The Superior Court invites comments on a set of proposed initiatives, as described below, designed to make civil litigation more just, speedy, and inexpensive. These proposals would make significant changes in the conduct of civil litigation in the…

Use an Honorable Engagement Provision

Use an Honorable Engagement provision to make the “steep uphill climb” toward arbitral vacatur improbable. By Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Esq. ©2015 In May, the First Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals issued a decision of interest to arbitration practioners. Of exceptional interest is the court’s recognition that when arbitration agreements contain an Honorable…

In Support of … Arbitration

By Brian R. Jerome, Esq. and Jeffrey S. Stern, Esq. A recent three-part series in the New York Times, (Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice October 31, 2015), which spotlighted certain abuses and injustices in particular types of arbitration, has gained wide attention in the ADR community, the broader legal community and with the…

Secrets to Business Success

What’s the big secret? Tell me, how do YOU increase revenue, outrun your competitors, and put your firm in the Pole Position? Although I’ve never felt there was actually a secret, I have always recognized that the answer is different for every business. Here are my top three recommendations to aid in the success of YOUR business: First…

Mediation: Achieving Success

How can participants maximize their chances for a successful outcome in mediation? While there are many worthwhile opinions and no shortage of advice, the simple virtue of civility can advance your negotiations in a powerful way. Overlooked in so many cases is the personal factor. There are reports, claims, medical bills, evidence to be collected.…

Foreclosure Mediation in Massachusetts

Although Foreclosure Mediation programs are not statewide in Massachusetts, three major cities have instituted mandatory programs through city ordinances as a means to help negotiate alternatives to foreclosures.  Through foreclosure mediation, homeowners and lenders engage in guided negotiation with a skilled mediator who is also a foreclosure expert.  Together they work to define new agreements…

NFL Concussion Case Heads to Mediation

In April 2013, a hearing was held in Philadelphia over litigation filed against the National Football League by more than 4,000 players who allege that concussions suffered during their careers have adversely impacted their health. Plaintiffs include players who want their future health closely monitored, those already suffering from dementia, depression, and/or neurological disorders, and…

ADR and Automobile Claims

Founded in 1991, MDRS has perhaps mediated and arbitrated more automobile claims of all types than any other ADR provider in Massachusetts.  Automobile related claims are particularly suited to the processes of alternative dispute resolution, which are designed to meet the parties’ interests in resolving these cases equitably, economically and skillfully, and avoiding the time,…

Recent Cases in ADR – April 2013

Keep updated on the most recent cases and latest developments in Alternative Dispute Resolution.  What’s new this April?  Find out here. Arbitration – Arbitration Clause in Employee Handbook Not Enforceable.  The plaintiff brought suit alleging that her employer, its owner and her former supervisor interfered with her request for maternity leave under the Family and…

MDRS About Town

This Spring, Brian Jerome has helped lead a variety of ADR-related events in the Boston area.  Here are a few of the places where he has been. In March, Brian participated in, and helped present, a Mediator Training Program at Salem Bar Advocates with Attorney Michael Merriam. In February, Brian helped present an Insurance Training…

ADR for Auto Accidents

  Proving fault in an automobile accident with another vehicle is often difficult. The circumstances surrounding car accidents vary greatly and each involves unique elements that should be examined. If you are involved in an automobile accident, you may be in shock and unable to fully process what is going on around you.  It is…

ADR for Prescription Drug Errors

  According to the Institute of Medicine, medication errors affect more than 1.5 million Americans each year in hospitals alone. Similarly, in a study published by the Journal of American Pharmacists Association in 2003, it was found that American pharmacies make over 30 million drug administration errors a year. Errors can occur for a multitude…

Massachusetts Caregiver Homes

For many families, caring for a family member who is disabled or elderly can be a financial and emotional burden. Often it could seem that placing a disabled family member in a nursing home is the easiest route to take. However, in Massachusetts there is an alternative solution. Founded in 2005, a program of MassHealth…

ADR Pioneer Roger Fisher Dies

Roger Fisher, a pioneer in the field of international law and negotiation and the co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project, died on August 25, 2012. He was 90 years old. A professor at Harvard Law School for more than four decades, Fisher established negotiation and conflict resolution as a field deserving academic study and devoted…

NADN Membership for Brian Jerome

The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN), an invitation-only association of exceptional Alternative Dispute Resolution professionals, has announced the induction of Brian R. Jerome, Esq. to its esteemed group. The NADN recognizes mediators and arbitrators who have met stringent practice criteria, and whom stand out among firm- and peer-reviews. The Academy has made its directory of…

Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements

A mandatory arbitration agreement that a man signed on his mother’s behalf when she was admitted to a nursing home did not bar his wrongful death suit against the facility, a Superior Court judge has ruled. The nursing home argued the plaintiff signed a mandatory arbitration agreement under a health care proxy executed by his…

Portland Public Schools Arbitration

Portland Public Schools were ordered to pay high school teachers a week’s extra pay by arbitrator William Reeves. The decision was made after teachers in the school district were forced to take on additional classes and students, effectively working a combined $750, 000 for nothing. According to Reeves, the increase in students teachers gain must directly…

Key Differences in Compromising and Collaborating

Compromising and collaborating can have similar outcomes when applied to the mediation process, each helps disputing parties meet their individual goals. But while the ideas are similar, they’re not interchangeable. One key difference is this: when parties compromise, they have only some of their individual goals and needs met; but when parties collaborate, each party’s expectations…

Consumer Arbitration

Found in the fine print of many cellphone, computer, car, and job contracts are terms and conditions including the waiver of a right to file a lawsuit in place of arbitration.  Most of the time this provision is never invoked but a growing number of job seekers and consumers are realizing that if something does…

“Baseball” Arbitration in Boston

On the morning before a scheduled record breaking salary arbitration hearing last week, designated hitter, David Ortiz, 36, and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract worth $14,575,000. The deal was midway between the $16.5 million he asked for last month and the $12.65 million submitted by the Red Sox, which matched his 2011…

It’s an Arbitration for Ortiz

According to a recent Boston Herald article, David Ortiz has agreed to an arbitration hearing, unlike many of his teammates, as a means to resolve the dispute between his requested annual salary ($16.5 million) and the $12.5 million counter-offer by the Red Sox. Both parties will have an opportunity to present evidence in support of…

New Year’s (Dispute) Resolution

Not everyone likes to make resolutions for the new year. It can even be a matter of contention in some households: why should I bother; how can a symbolic date generate legitimate self-improvement? But while gym membership renewals and swearing off holiday cakes are commonly regarded as the right start to the new year, could…

Occupy Mediation

The Occupy Wall Street movement that has been spreading across the country has been a hub for civil protest and ideas, as well as alternative dispute resolution services. Occupy Boston in particular was built on a sound foundation of peaceful protest and mediation. Protesters have been involved in ADR cases with the City, the Boston…

A Season for Resolution

The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, to express gratitude for your good fortune and to reflect on improvements you want to make. Ideally, these are things we do on a regular basis; sometimes, however, “life gets in the way.” It’s easy to get caught up in the rigors of daily…

Transparency in Mediation

An important factor in alternative dispute resolution is the manner in which each party handles the exchange of relevant information. The litigation process is known for concealing relevant information from opposing parties; however, new legal transparencies and software make it difficult to “hide” information. Mediation is a very straight-forward and transparent process at its core,…

The Plain Language Movement in ADR

A discussion about  legal “jargon” is often met with a quote by Jane M. Siegel, a professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School: “there is no freedom or justice when the language of law and government is incomprehensible to a country’s citizens.”  Similar opinions have spurred the plain language movement in the law profession, and the need…

Mediation Tips and Strategies!

Dear Friends and Colleagues, Below is a link to an article highlighting mediation tips and strategies offered by MDRS, one of the original mediation and alternative dispute resolution firms in Massachusetts. We have over 20 years of experience and are pleased to share a few important things we’ve learned with you. Click here for PDF. Let…

MBA CLE Mediation Program

The Massachusetts Bar Association CLE Program, Shuttle Diplomacy: Winning Your Mediation During the Private Sessions, is “designed for both plaintiff and defense lawyers who regularly mediate or for those just getting into the game.” I am pleased to be a part of an experienced faculty team whose goal it is to help the continuing of…

The Neutral Neutral

One of the first questions that clients ask when they’re considering alternative dispute resolution services like mediation and arbitration, is how a panel member or mediator can remain neutral. Each party thinks it’s correct; therefore, each party believes the neutral should “side” with it. During the dispute, however, parties usually realize the panel member’s neutrality…

ADR: Resolved to Strike a Balance

A common issue comes up regarding alternative dispute resolution agreements is that they either go too far or that they don’t go far enough.  Sometimes we hear that dispute resolution agreements are weighted to advance the drafting party, or that the resolution process doesn’t take full advantage of the opportunity to mediate and arbitrate fairly.…

Bankruptcy Disputes and ADR

Today’s economy is challenging, and as a result Alternative Dispute Resolution has been incorporated into bankruptcy and foreclosure law.   Because bankruptcy lawyers are often working under strict deadlines, ADR can be an good alternative to litigation. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998 now “requires each federal district court, authorized by local rule, to…

ADR: Business Disputes Benefit from Mediation and Arbitration

ADR is often utilized in business disputes because it offers more than a cold-hard decision. Alternative Dispute Resolution services shine in the business industry because, more often than not, the underlying cause of a dispute is rooted in economic issues, not necessarily legal issues. ADR has been integrated into business disputes in various forms, including…