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The Complex Case Class of '08

by Geoff Sharp

From the blog mediator blah...blah...

Geoff Sharp

Here's the great bunch of folks I spent last week with in the mediating the complex case course at Pepperdine.

That's Bruce Edwards on the left and from whom we all learnt so much - Bruce is the real deal in high stakes mediation - as well as being heavily involved in the governance of JAMS, he puts in table-time all over the US, mostly splitting himself between the tables of Las Vegas (that's mediation tables - Bruce's family only lets him mediate in Sin City if he leaves with more money than he arrives with) and the highly polished boardroom tables of his hometown San Francisco.

Nowhere else that I know of can you get the type of insight into the specialist world of mediating complex cases (and for 'complex' read multi 15+ lawyered up parties; with insurance coverage issues; $ in the millions; and a line of experts and lawyers stretching the entire length of The Strip).

More on course content later, as right now I would like to honor course participants for their most gracious welcome of this Kiwi.

From left, after Bruce, there is;

Manuel Gomez of Assistant Prof at Florida International University - it's a small world when you discover a mutual interest in breeding earth worms for recycling purposes (don't ask, as this blog is relentlessly on-topic).

Don Philbin of San Antonio - take a look at this superb article Don authored called The Psychology of Bad Economic Decisions and published in last fall's JAMS newsletter. I'm going to be show-casing more of Don's work in coming posts, especially his article The One Minute Manager Prepares for Mediation: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Negotiation Preparation published in Harvard Negotiation Law Review soon.

The back row gang of Beth Greenfield-Mandler, Joe Unger and Bill Roland, all vastly experienced circuit mediators for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Miami mediating exclusively appellate cases in the federal system - a very challenging environment to do this work in. Joe showed us a mediator opening to die for.

Harvey Goldhammer of Glendale, CA who so generously shared his longtime experience of the insurance world.

Rebecca Callahan of Newport Beach who has the grooviest website out there.

Jim Ruh, a wise Colorado attorney mediator and trustee of the Colorado Ballet.

Marion Uitslag of The Netherlands and who gave us all a copy of her wonderful book The Ins and Outs of Mediation (complete copy online here).

IP attorney mediator Craig Metcalf of Salt Lake City who is expanding his neutral practice as we speak

Attorney, test pilot, engineer, and naval officer Dave Hunter who was second only to Bruce Edwards in his understanding of the murky world of insurance litigation.

Los Angeles mediator Paul Steven whose background in employment law means he has rubbed shoulders with the best of L.A. talent over the years and quicky established himself in his mediation practice in Encino.


Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering a wide range of subject matter from insurance disputes to historic sexual abuse claims.

Geoff is author of the award winning blog mediator blah...blah... a mediation blog experiment in reflective practice and the Mediation vBlog Project, a kind of mediation genome project by video blog.

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