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JAMS Mediation Panels

JAMS Mediation Panels

How does JAMS select and maintain its mediation panel?

 

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Let me start with JAMS in the US, which is by far and away the world’s most successful ADR company. What’s it do that is unique and puts it in that place? First off, it only takes people who are full time, going to commit themselves completely to mediating and arbitrating, those people, two thirds of them I think are former judges. There are a substantial number of federal court judges also state court judges. But increasingly and in particularly as they moved east across the country from their roots in California, they’ve changed that model slightly, incorporated more law firm partners. But they are all lawyers, pretty much, perhaps with one maybe two exceptions and they are all full time. They are all exclusive to JAMS. If you want to contact any of those, if you want to use those guys for mediation or arbitration, you can only get them through JAMS.

 

Those right there are a few things nobody has really tried to do in the UK. There has been a knee jerk response against exclusivity. I think that’s partly to do with the maturity of the market. I think people like to be on as many panels as possible to increase their chances of getting an appointment. But in doing that, they are diluting all of the focus, any kind of marketing that any of those panels may wish to do. I think the people who go on so many different panels just make themselves uninvestable. But there we are. This is my personal view. It’s no different in fact. JAMS in the States to a barrister’s chambers here. You want that barrister, you phone their clerk. Nobody appears to have a problem with that. We’ve been operating like that for centuries. But it’s not become the orthodoxy with mediators.

 

In the United States they use the term neutrals, which mean a full time mediator or arbitrator. Actually, it derives from one of the US versions of arbitration where there would be a tribunal of three people. Two would be party appointed and they would actually argue for the parties. And you would have, in the middle, the neutral. There would be one single independent person on that tribunal. That system apparently still operates. It’s very alien to us here. But we use it. Just a short hand for a neutral independent disinterested third party. I should add actually that version of arbitration is not something that JAMS has anything at all to do with. We have our own rules and systems and so forth. It’s not that kind of partisan.

About the mediator

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Matthew Rushton began a career as a legal journalist in 1997 writing for The Legal 500 in the UK, continental Europe, and Asia Pacific regions. He subsequently wrote for a wide range of legal periodicals in the UK and US, including Legal Business magazine where he was a senior reporter and litigation editor (2000-2003). As a business journalist he is widely published in magazines and newspapers, including nationals like The Daily Telegraph. He is... View Mediator