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JAMS ADR Insights

Arbitration Mediation

The Journey From Bench to Arbitration and Mediation: Retooling, Not Retiring

In July I retired from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in the middle of my 23rd year on the bench and transitioned from the life of a trial judge to that of an arbitrator/mediator. The phrase “retooling, not retiring” to describe this transition was coined by a friend and colleague who preceded me in making the transition from the bench to the world of alternative dispute resolution. It is an apt description. While the types of cases we deal with may be the same—we have not retired from resolving disputes—the approach, the venue and our function are very different. Just as when we were trial judges, we are still neutrals, but now we operate in a different arena. The cases and controversies we deal with are no longer assigned to us as part of a court system; they come to us solely at the discretion of the claimants, respondents and their respective lawyers. Whether participating in an arbitration or a mediation, the parties are much more in control of the process.

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The Legal Intelligencer

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