After 36 years as a state court trial and appellate judge, including eight in the commercial division and 21 managing mass torts, I anticipated a seamless transition to becoming a neutral. After all, I had tried, conferenced and settled thousands of cases. To be sure, I realized I would lack the hammer of the imminent trial alternative, so I took several courses in mediation, some of which involved role playing. But ultimately, I thought it would just come naturally. After three years as a neutral, I can report that while my judicial skills prepared me in some ways, they presented obstacles in other ways.
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