The Evolution of Mediator Rusty Grant
Rusty Grant is a sought-after mediator based in Atlanta. He handles complex personal injury, products liability, professional malpractice, and premises liability disputes.
Why did you become a lawyer?
I always knew I would go to law school. My father was a lawyer. His father was a lawyer. And while I had absolutely no pressure to be one too, it’s just what I wanted to do. I became a neutral because I found that in my own cases I was recommending mediation so often. I think it represents the best opportunity for litigants to be satisfied with the outcome of their dispute. The trial process usually means people walk away disappointed, and many times, even litigants who prevail at trial are among them. The mediation process allows litigants to take control of their conflict and arrive at a mutual decision.
What are you most proud of with respect to your career?
I think the thing I am most proud of in my career is that the attorneys I have worked with on both sides of the bar see me as a straight-shooter. I haven’t been lumped in as playing favorites or seeing things from only one point of view.
What does ADR look like in 10 years?
In ten years, I believe ADR will be used much more often before litigation is even filed. I think the cost savings analysis of pre-litigation ADR makes it only a matter of time where it comes first, and the lawsuit is filed only if ADR proves unsuccessful.
What do you hope to accomplish through your ADR practice?
I want to help as many people put complicated and frustrating problems behind them as possible. That includes the attorneys who hire me, but it also includes their clients. The prospect of going to trial for the average person is not appealing, yet those same people feel they need someone to listen to them and hear their story. I want to be the person not only to hear the story, but also provide a path to resolution of that story.
What is your conflict resolution style/approach?
I start by listening. I also tell the parties on both sides that I will be exploring all points of view, even those they don’t agree with. I try to identify areas of agreement between the parties because in doing so, it can create a tone of collaboration.
How would you clients describe you?
I would like to think that clients describe me as patient and honest. I will give my opinions both when they favor a particular litigant and when they don’t. I always try to explore every avenue for resolution even when it seems like it may not happen.
Where Did You Grow Up?
I grew up and lived here in Atlanta all but one year before leaving for college in Virginia. I came back to Georgia for law school and have been here ever since.
What’s your Favorite Book?
My favorite book read in school, and still my favorite, is To Kill a Mockingbird. I suppose it’s fitting that it involves a lawyer but really the book as a whole has always appealed to me.
What do you like to do in your spare time? How do you unwind?
I consider myself very much of a family man. I spend as much time with my family as possible. Outside of that, I love to exercise. I participate in triathlons and can’t seem to retire from competing for better times and longer distances.
Do you have a favorite quote?
I have always been a big fan of the band Rush, and count many of its song lyrics among my favorite quotes. But probably my favorite from the song “Test for Echo” You can fight without ever winning, but never ever win without a fight.
What movie or novel character do you most identify with? Why?
I see myself a little bit like Steve Martin’s character in the movie “Parenthood.” His life never stops surprising him, and he easily stresses about things outside his control. At the end of the movie, he realizes it’s all a big roller coaster and sometimes, you just have to sit back and enjoy it.
What characteristic do you most admire in others?
One of my favorite characteristics is loyalty. It is not always easy to stick with something or someone during harder times. It is one of the things I strive to be as much as anything, and I respect deeply others who are as well.
If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be and why?
As a sports nut, I would have to say Magic Johnson. He was my favorite basketball player as a child. At the time he retired from playing, most of us thought he would be lucky to live another ten years. Yet, he has not only defied those odds, but has built a business empire and brought benefit to the underprivileged like few other have.