I have found mediation to be a rewarding process that is well aligned with my belief in social justice. I approach each mediation as a neutral facilitator dedicated to finding a fair resolution for all parties. I make sure everyone feels like they have been heard. When progress stalls, or when asked, I do become evaluative and start to draw on my extensive trial experience to assess the most probable jury outcomes. To that end, my old firm collected a database of personal injury and wrongful death jury verdicts in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas County for the last 20+ years. This information gives me a valuable additional tool for evaluating the worth of a claim.
Most importantly, I don’t give up easily. I will work extremely hard to find a just result for both parties.
Mediation Training and Experience
I completed my initial 36 hours of formal mediation training in San Francisco in 2012. Since then I have shadowed other mediators, attended numerous additional mediation trainings in Oregon, and mediated more than 75 cases for the Multnomah County Small Claims Department. After each Small Claims case, the mediators and court administrator discuss the challenges of each case and techniques we used, as we constantly strive to hone our skills. I started doing Circuit Court mediations a few years ago and now wish to make it my primary focus.
I became a board member of the Oregon Mediation Association in 2016, working on both the mediation qualification committee and on the Fall OMA conference. I invite you to visit the OMA site. I adhere to the OMA Ethical Standards. See also my Superlawyer page.
I charge $250 an hour for review of materials and for the mediation, split equally between the parties unless specifically otherwise agreed. I ask that each party pay a $750 deposit for a half-day and $1,200 for a full day at the time of booking the mediation. The law firms representing the parties are agreeing to be guarantors of payment of their clients’ share of the mediation fee. In case of a cancellation, fees will be charged just for time spent from initial booking until cancelled. See my Mediation Fees and Procedures document.
I am willing to travel in the state of Oregon or SW Washington for no additional charge for mediations involving eight (8) or more hours of preparation and attendance time. This is subject to weather conditions and the current status of COVID-19.
Why should a plaintiff’s attorney choose me?
First of all I guarantee your client will feel heard. Also, I have defended insureds for insurance companies for many years and have earned a reputation for being honest and straightforward. I have worked with well-known and highly regarded defense and plaintiff’s counsel. Insurance companies are more likely to trust my judgment as a mediator if, for instance, I were to tell them I think a case has more value than they originally believed. Also, I have always handled some plaintiff’s cases and the numbers have increased steadily in recent years.
Why should a defense attorney choose me?
They also will feel heard. For much of my 40 + years of practice, I have been known primarily as a defense attorney, but have always also represented plaintiffs, and I know both the risks and rewards of going to trial for both sides.
Will Rudy be evaluative?
He certainly can be if asked and if the timing is right. However, he believes in the party’s right to self-determination and prefers to have the parties and their attorneys each evaluate the risks and benefits of going to trial versus settling first. Then, if it seems necessary to move the mediation forward, he will have a realistic, experience-based, opinion as to the parameters within which a jury is likely to come to an award, which he views as the touchstone for a reasonable settlement in most cases.
Booking your mediation
To book a mediation with Rudy please either call Marilyn at 503-207-6917 or Rudy at 503-207-6932 or email both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and provide all of the following information: case name and number, the name of counsel for each party, the date or dates you would like to mediate and whether you need a half day or a full day and your preference for morning or afternoon for ½ day mediations. On our end we will first determine our availability for the date or dates you prefer, then check for conflicts and then email or call with whether we can accommodate your requests and have no conflicts.
Even in this COVID-19 atmosphere we all, as a profession, need to continue to move cases forward towards a reasonable resolution. Clients deserve no less. Online mediation provides that opportunity, but it also presents its own set of problems, some very real and perhaps some just imaginary. Most of us who have done mediations in person for a very long time are concerned about whether the same rapport can be developed online as in person. I am now convinced that it can be, and should be, as long as all participants approach online mediation as a useful tool and mediators take the time and effort necessary to build that rapport. The benefits are obvious. Parties can be literally in their own homes, or in their attorney’s offices maintaining safe distances, while the mediator and other participants can be hundreds of miles away and yet during the mediation, the mediator is absolutely present. In my limited experience so far, it takes about 5 minutes before the fact that we are online is no longer an obstacle. Ironically, it is the older veteran attorneys like myself who are much more likely to be reticent about proceeding online than the clients who have been buying things online regularly for several years now, getting much of their news that way, often do their banking, vacation planning, and much more online.
However, there are definitely things to be very careful about. One is preserving both confidentiality and privacy, and attorney/client privileges. ORS Chapter 36 provides substantial protection for the confidentiality of the mediation but, as we all know from reading Alfieri v. Solomon 358 Or. 383, 365 P.3d (2015) that there are limits to confidentiality in even in-person mediations. There can be additional risks in online mediation unless strict adherence to guidelines are followed to protect against it. There are two documents that I want all lawyers and all parties to read in advance of any mediation: Guidelines for Online Mediations and Best Practices. At the time of the mediation I will ask all parties to sign my mediation agreement which says, in part, that all parties have read and agree to abide by all of the terms in the Guidelines and Best Practices. Feel free to email or call Rudy if you have any questions once you have reviewed the same.