Lessons from the Mediation Front: Two Mediators Discuss Their Experiences of Successes, Failures and Surprises
Presenters: Michael J. Leech
Robert W. Berliner, Jr.
Our speakers have conducted mediations from small claims court to class action cases, from family business disputes to tort claims with insurance companies. They will discuss what they have learned from their experiences, starting from the beginning when the parties or their lawyers first come to retain them to help resolve a dispute, whether in litigation or not, and ending either when the settlement agreement is signed or when the parties walk away. They will race through a menu of potential approaches and discuss how each can affect the outcome—what they have found helps or doesn’t and when, what they have found works or fails and when, and what has surprised them. Dangerous interventions, unorthodox interventions, Mediation 101 interventions, non-move moves and more await in this presentation.
Michael J. Leech is an independent mediator and arbitrator with offices in Chicago and Philadelphia who conducted his first mediation in 1996. He is Immediate Past President of the Association of Attorney-Mediators and a distinguished fellow of the International Academy of Mediators. Until the end of 2011, he was a partner in the Chicago based law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP and practiced in commercial litigation and employment law. A 1976 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, he is a member of the American Law Institute and the College of Labor & Employment Lawyers. In 2005, he was selected by Lawdragon.com as one of the top 100 litigators in America and has been a Super Lawyer and Leading Lawyer since those designations were started in 2005.
Robert W. Berliner, Jr. is a practicing mediator, arbitrator and attorney and is often retained as an expert witness in real estate, legal malpractice and other matters. He has also been a principal in many real estate and other business ventures.
Mr. Berliner is a co-founder and Vice President and Secretary of the Illinois chapter of the Association of Attorney-Mediators, which has grown to about 50 members since its founding in mid-2009. He frequently presents continuing legal education and other educational programs on mediation, legal and real estate subjects, and has been an adjunct professor at Stuart Graduate School of Business, Illinois Institute of Technology, where he taught real estate investment. He is a member of the American Arbitration Association arbitration and mediation panels.
Mr. Berliner founded and leads a program that provides pro bono mediation services to the Small Claims Court in Will County, Illinois. The program has grown from one to over 20 participating mediators since 2010 and has settled about 85% of the cases mediated.
Mr. Berliner began his career with a small Chicago law firm, Levy and Erens, where he gained experience in nearly every area of practice of a commercial law firm— litigation, real estate, corporate, securities, tax, estate planning and bankruptcy. The firm grew from 13 to 35 lawyers during his career there. After 10 years with that firm, he started his own law firm, first as a sole practitioner and then in a small partnership. Thereafter, Mr. Berliner became a senior officer and general counsel of Jupiter Industries, Inc., and a partner and general counsel of Jupiter Realty Corporation, both founded and led by the late Jerrold Wexler. At the time, Jupiter Industries, Inc., was a diversified conglomerate with revenues of over $1 billion and interests in construction and engineering, transportation, retailing, insurance, manufacturing and real estate, and Jupiter Realty Corporation was a real estate company with interests in office buildings, shopping centers, apartment buildings and hotels all over the country.
Mr. Berliner received his degrees A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College and J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. He also served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, where he was Supply Officer on a nuclear-powered Polaris missile submarine, and is currently a member of the Naval War College Foundation.
For more about Mr. Berliner, see his website at http://www.berlinergroup.com.