Words of Wisdom Imparted by MDRS Experts!

Massachusetts Dispute Resolution Services is now featuring articles and interviews by members of our Panel of Neutrals, “Words of Wisdom.”

Here’s a brief excerpt from our most recent article, A Trial Lawyer’s Experience as a Mediator: A Few Brief Lessons, written by MDRS Neutral Thomas W. Porter:

On the first day of practice as a trial lawyer, my boss told me about the different cross-examination styles of the partners.  He spoke of one, a very devout Catholic, as a pugilist.  He would just come out swinging.  The witnesses would see the blows coming, but there was nothing they could do.  He would leave them a bloody pulp.  Another partner was a Quaker and a very kind man.  His style was different.  He used a stiletto.  Often the witnesses would not see it coming and sometimes they wouldn’t even feel it going between the ribs, but the result was the same, a pool of blood underneath the chair.

MDRS is pleased to highlight our diverse team of Neutrals, their various backgrounds and experiences, in order to better serve the Alternative Dispute Resolution community.

We would love to hear from you–please post your comments regarding “Words of Wisdom” articles and interviews on the MDRS Facebook page.


Bette J. Roth Offers Sound Advice to the Legal Community

Bette J. Roth, a mediator and arbitrator who also teaches mediation at Boston University School of Law, is a member of the MDRS Panel of Neutrals. Ms. Roth’s “10 tips for effective – and ethical – negotiation” was recently featured in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. As business counsel and mediator, Ms. Roth emphasizes the importance of preserving clients’ integrity throughout the dispute resolution process, considering whether factors in the case will lead to ethically sound decision-making, open-mindedness and optimism.

Ms. Roth also reminds counsel that a particular deal associated with the outcome of a case should reflect the client, not the lawyer. Alternative Dispute Resolution through arbitration, mediation, and other processes, often removes ego from a case because the counsel is involved closely with multiple parties and has the benefit of acting truly objectively, or neutrally.

ADR is a fantastic process that facilitates the kind of negotiation Ms. Roth encourages; the kind that leads to interest- and integrity-based “win-win” solutions.


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 is absolutely essential to the ADR process.  A panel member must understand each party’s perspective.

In a court trial, lawyers try to persuade a judge or jury to agree with the single party they represent. In mediation, the mediator or neutral is capable if learning all the details in the dispute, and can ask questions of each party.

This means the ADR neutral helps each party communicate and understand each other more clearly. He or she can also gather information from additional experts who can help shed light on the situation.

Article here.