How’d you get interested in mediation, and what do you still like about it?
Like everything else in my life it was just sheer luck. I received a call one day from Clay Porter. Clay asked me if I would mediate a case. I said I was not a mediator and respectfully declined.
A couple of days later Clay called back and said “Rex, its a brain injury case, everybody knows you, the case turns on the science, would you do this for us?” I said if everybody signs an acknowledgment that I am not trained I will give it a try. We got together and about midnight we got it settled. It was just thrilling.
I immediately signed up to take mediation training from Pat Siuta. Pat has taught virtually everybody in the state except Ed Henning, and then I was hooked.
I don’t like mediation; I love it. There is a big difference. I love the people. You are invited in to help people with things that are important to them. The issues are challenging. It is an intellectual feast. There is creativity to it. There are so many ways to approach the solutions to the problems. I love the lawyers. People who tell lawyer jokes don’t know lawyers. They are uniformly intelligent, hard working people. Highly ethical and passionate about there clients and craft. I have developed deep friendships with some of the best people in the state. I am truly blessed to be able to do this work.
What advice would you give to a new lawyer who wanted to get involved in mediation?
Try as many cases as you can. Learn the judges, procedure and evidence. Learn the formal rules and the informal ones. Become a master at trial work. Learn the science of what you do. Become a lifelong student of the law. If you don’t love people, start. It’s a people business. Treat everyone in every situation like you want to be treated. The advice is as old as the Bible and is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago.
Who are one or two people who helped you achieve your career success, and how did they do that?
This list is a very long one. It has to start with my family. My parents. I could not have had a more loving and supportive family. My wife, Mary, and my three sons, Ron, Walter and Nathan. To be armored with love and grace each and every day makes it so much easier to go out and face the world.
It’s almost impossible to narrow my list to one or two. If I have to do so it would be Ed Henning and John Miles. Ed enthusiastically gave me an opportunity and introduced me to the world of mediation.
John has given me the opportunity to continue my career and expand my practice. John is truly a visionary in mediation. He will be remembered as one of the pioneers. Ed and John are truly giants and changed the trillion-dollar business of litigation for the better.