I am a JAMS mediator, arbitrator, and neutral evaluator. As a former commercial claims professional, I have a unique perspective on navigating civil tort negotiations and crafting resolutions. For over 25 years, I managed, evaluated, and negotiated complex casualty claims across subject matters with settlements. I handled cases all over the country. I used to pride myself on showing up in the room for the policyholder and resolving catastrophic claims so that everyone involved could move on with their lives. I do not believe people really want to be in dispute. I believed I needed to be in the room. Being in the room allowed me to read body language and make a “high touch” connection. Understanding the human condition is a skill learned by listening and discerning what is really being conveyed, oftentimes not in words. The pandemic has caused us to shift our thinking and reimagine the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. I still prefer inperson mediation, but virtual mediation, as an ADR option, has proven to be better than I expected it to be, and I think it is here to stay. COVID-19 and variants have forever changed how we think about what’s possible.
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