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Available for mediations in the Portland metropolitan area.

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I spent more than fifteen years as a litigator at one of Portland’s most well-established and respected firms. My practice focused on complex business disputes, class actions, securities, consumer, wage and hour, antitrust, and appeals. I have appeared in state and federal courts in Oregon and elsewhere, at both the trial and appellate levels. As an advocate I frequently represented clients in mediation, and in 2006 I began working as a neutral myself—first as an arbitrator, and then as a mediator.

Since 2013 I’ve mediated dozens of cases in a variety of subject areas, including breach of contract, tort, landlord/tenant, real property, employment, and insurance disputes. In 2015, I served as the chair of the Oregon State Bar’s Alternate Dispute Resolution Section. I’m a frequent contributor to the Oregon State Bar’s continuing legal education materials, and have written and spoken on topics such as class actions, civil discovery, alternative dispute resolution, and business litigation. While I no longer represent clients as an attorney, I maintain active membership in the Oregon State Bar.

Please see my resume for further information regarding my background, training, and experience.

 

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At its core, mediation is a facilitated conversation among parties in conflict. The substance of that conversation, and to a certain extent the process through which it takes place, are largely determined by the parties. Within that process, the mediator’s role is to help parties: understand their underlying interests and motivations; communicate those interests and motivations to the other side clearly and effectively; maintain an open dialogue in a safe and confidential environment; evaluate the costs and benefits of continuing versus resolving the dispute; and explore options for resolution.

 

The Benefits of Mediation

There are countless benefits to mediation. Even the most complex disputes are often capable of being settled quickly and efficiently, saving the parties time, money, and the emotional toll that may accompany protracted conflict. And because mediation is voluntary, the parties remain in total control over the outcome. Nothing is resolved unless all parties agree. Mediated agreements are also inherently flexible. They are not limited by what the law may provide as legal remedies, and can incorporate terms that might not ever be awarded by a judge or a jury. Out-of-the-box thinking is encouraged, and is sometimes necessary in order to bring about an agreement.

 

The Mediation Process

While parties may have some input in the process itself, the mediator takes the lead in designing a process that, given the players involved (parties, counsel, and other participants) and the nature of the conflict, will be most conducive to a productive dialogue.

Typically, I begin mediations prior to the initial session. I request that each party provide me with a pre-mediation brief, which sets out their concerns, evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of their position, and goals for mediation. Armed with this information, I conduct individual telephone conferences to get a better feel for the parties and the dynamics between them, how the conflict arose, and the parties’ interest in a resolution. Getting a handle on these things early allows everyone to hit the ground running when the formal session begins.

On the scheduled date, I may start with a joint session. It depends on the needs of the parties. While I prefer to conduct mediations in joint sessions as much as possible, I understand that for many reasons the parties may prefer to conduct the negotiation from separate rooms. Whether we start together or apart, I use this time to touch base with the participants, and give the parties a chance to raise any additional issues or concerns they may have.

From that point forward, what happens in the room (or rooms) is extremely variable, and primarily depends on what impediments and pathways there are to settlement. If the process ultimately leads to the parties resolving their dispute, the parties may choose to memorialize material terms or even the entire agreement at the mediation, or they may decide to put the agreement in writing later. If progress is made but no agreement is reached by the end of the session, I can continue to work with the parties—by telephone or in person—to bridge any gaps that remain.

 

Maximizing the Chances for a Mediated Resolution

Mediation often results in negotiated agreements. It works. But a successful mediation does not happen by accident. Rather, in order to maximize the chances for settlement, the parties must be serious and committed. They must come prepared and in good faith, bring those with the necessary authority to settle, have open minds, be flexible and patient, and, as much as they can, focus on the future. If parties come to mediation in the right frame of mind, anything is possible.

 
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Half-day or full-day settings are available.

Fees are $1,250 for a half-day or $2,250 for a full day, which includes preparation time and pre-session communications with parties and/or counsel. Time in excess of four hours for half-day sessions and in excess of eight hours for full-day sessions (not including pre-session time), will be billed at $300 per hour.

At the time of scheduling, the parties must specify how the fees are to be shared.

A deposit in the full amount of the appropriate session fee will be due no later than 14 days in advance of the scheduled mediation, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties and the mediator. The deposit is refundable until 7 days prior to the scheduled mediation, at which point it becomes non-refundable. However, if the mediation is rescheduled to a date within 60 days of the cancelled session, the deposit will be applied toward the fees billed in connection with the rescheduled mediation.

 
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To schedule a mediation, please contact me via email at mark@friel-mediation.com or by phone at (503) 475-0497.

My mailing address is P.O. Box 82550, Portland, Oregon 97282.

 
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For more information about mediation, how it works, and how it can help you resolve even the most contentious disputes, I would recommend the following resources.

 

Bowling, Daniel and David Hoffman, eds. Bringing Peace into the Room: How the Personal Qualities of the Mediator Impact the Process of Conflict Resolution. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2003.

Bush, Robert A. Baruch and Joseph P. Folger. The Promise of Mediation: Responding to Conflict Through Empowerment and Recognition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994.

Cloke, Kenneth. Mediating Dangerously: The Frontiers of Conflict Resolution. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001.

Eddy, Bill. High Conflict People in Legal Disputes. San Diego: HCI Press, 2009.

Fisher, Roger, and Scott Brown. Getting Together: Building Relationships As We Negotiate. New York: Penguin Books, 1989.

Fisher, Roger, William Ury, and Bruce Patton. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. 2d ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1991.

Friedman, Gary and Jack Himmelstein. Challenging Conflict: Mediation Through Understanding. Chicago: ABA Publishing, 2008.

Little, J. Anderson. Making Money Talk: How to Mediate Insured Claims and Other Monetary Disputes. Chicago: ABA Publishing, 2007.

Moore, Christopher W. The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflicts. 4th ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014.

Rosenberg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. 2d ed. Encinitas: Puddle Dancer Press, 2003.

Ury, William. Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation. Rev. ed. New York: Bantam Books, 1993.