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JAMS ADR Insights

Alternative Dispute Resolution Neutral Spotlights & Profiles

A JAMS Q&A Session: Shining the Spotlight on Jeff Grubman, Esq.

Learn about his legal journey, how his parents shaped his outlook and the elements he believes make a good mediator.

What was your path to becoming a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS?

I was a business, securities, IP and entertainment litigator for many years, having worked in very large and small law firms over my career. In my role as a neutral, it has been helpful to have represented Fortune 100 companies in huge cases on one end of the spectrum and clients on a contingency fee basis on the other. After having conducted many mediations as an advocate, I made a mid-career switch about 20 years ago to doing mediations on my own, then joined JAMS after the Florida Resolution Center opened.

How have your background and history shaped the person you are today?

I have a genuine interest in learning about people. As an only child, I was close with my parents. They were the nicest people you could meet, and truly loved people. We would often visit the doctor to get my dad evaluated for medical challenges he experienced as he got older. My dad would learn everything about his doctor—their family, their hobbies, etc.—but they couldn’t figure out what was medically wrong with him! Growing up with parents like that really shaped the person I am today and is one of the reasons I became a mediator. I enjoy connecting with people and making them feel comfortable.

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How does your docket break down with respect to arbitrations and mediations? What do you prefer?

I prefer mediation to arbitration and have always done more mediations than arbitrations. I prefer helping people make their own decisions rather than making them for them.

How do you think being a veteran ADR professional who has worked on over 2,000 complex cases nationwide and beyond sets you apart as a mediator or arbitrator?

I have mediated in approximately 20 JAMS Resolution Centers, so I’ve interacted with litigants and lawyers from all across the country and around the world, which has been interesting. It has been helpful to see and learn how people interact in different parts of the country and how to interact with them.

What types of matters do you find most interesting?

I just love mediating cases. I have mediated a huge number of securities, investment and Ponzi scheme cases. I have also mediated many entertainment and IP cases, as well as lots of consumer class cases and, of course, general business/commercial cases.

Can you tell us about one case that was particularly memorable for you?

I like mediating entertainment cases because I litigated entertainment cases. The first significant entertainment case I worked on as a young lawyer was defending a famous rapper in a trademark infringement case. It is memorable because it was an interesting, challenging case and the first of many high-profile entertainers whom I represented. 

If we were to ask attorneys to describe you, what do you think they would say?  

The primary thing that other attorneys would say is that I’m very persistent and I don’t give up. Persistence is critical. Mediators must have good interpersonal skills to connect with people, the intelligence to understand the legal issues and the stamina to get through the process. But when things are looking negative, which they often do late in the mediation, being tenacious and persistent is what seems to make the difference.

Do you think your style is more facilitative or evaluative?

I consider myself a chameleon. If I’m in a case and the parties need and want evaluation, I’ll be more evaluative. If they want more hand-holding, I’ll provide that.

How do you deal with matters where the emotions are high?

I enjoy that. I like employment cases, securities cases (where people have lost money), malpractice cases—it’s very personal. I enjoy the emotional element and letting people know that I’m listening and can relate to them.

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