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  • Jul 01, 2020Mediator’s Tips for Successful Virtual Mediation

    More than ever, attorneys must now utilize creative and efficient alternatives to traditional litigation when assisting clients with legal disputes. Virtual mediation seems to have become the “new normal,” so if you have one scheduled, here are some tips:

    Virtual Mediation Tips

    • Learn the technology
      • Loading Zoom onto your phone or computer is easy
        • Give it a test run with your family and/or officemates
      • Make sure the client has loaded Zoom and has a stable source of WIFI
      • Ask mediator for a run-through
      • Make sure no one records the mediation
    • Backup plans
      • Have two phones available
      • Get everyone’s phone numbers
    • Do not schedule mediation unless you are ready to settle
      • If your client who is the defendant says, “there’s no way I’m going to pay any money,” don’t go to mediation
    • The parties and all decision-makers must be present
      • Joint sessions vs. private sessions
    • Memos should be done well in advance and should be shared with the other side with plenty of time for evaluation of your claim
      • Pictures
      • Medical reports (not every piece of paper generated by the hospital)
      • Relevant portions of deposition transcripts (not the tiny print ones)
    • Negotiations
      • Prepare your client for a long day and they will feel insulted at times
      • Don’t quit or lose your cool (this can be tedious at times)
      • Don’t make outrageous demands
      • Don’t make dinner plans or plane reservations
      • Bring other work
      • Do keep talking and no ultimatums

    This article was written by the Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.), a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of its Litigation Practice Group. A printable version is available to download here.

    If you have any questions about this article or any related matter, please feel free to contact him at egiordano@norris-law.com. For more topics related to COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus Thought Leadership Connection.

    The information contained in this post may not reflect the most current developments, as the subject matter is extremely fluid and constantly changing. Please continue to monitor this site for ongoing developments. This article provides information about current legal developments of mediation in the area of litigation and alternative dispute resolution. The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon such without professional counsel. Copyright © 2020 Norris McLaughlin, P.A.

    About Norris McLaughlin

    As well as representing our clients during commercial and civil disputes, our attorneys often serve as independent arbitrators and mediators. They are experienced in handling disputes for matters involving attorney ethics and fees, banking, corporate dissolutions, deadlocks and acquisitions, energy, environmental, estates, health care, information technology, insurance, intellectual property, labor and employment, matrimonial, products liability, and utility issues. We also offer innovative services in case consultation and complex case management.

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.), Litigation |

  • May 11, 2020How to Represent Your Client in a Virtual Mediation

    The Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.), a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of its Litigation Law Practice Group, will co-present the webinar, “How to Represent Your Client in a Virtual Mediation,” as part of the Northampton County Bar Association (NCBA) Lunch Lectures.

    About the Virtual Mediation Webinar

    Mediation has become a critical part of every litigator’s dispute resolution toolbelt. Are your skills and knowledge up to date? Judge Giordano, as well as other local attorneys, will explain why effective advocacy in mediation requires much more than a persuasive legal argument. It requires an understanding of the objectives of mediation, familiarity with the mediation process, and well-honed negotiation skills. Designed for civil litigators who may have limited or no experience in virtual mediation, this program will cover the following:

    • The decision whether and when to mediate
    • Mediating on Zoom Platform
    • Selecting a mediator (e.g., mediator style; background)
    • Preparing a mediation memo
    • Approaching pre-mediation calls with the mediator
    • Opportunities and pitfalls of the “joint session”
    • Deploying negotiation skills at the bargaining table
    • Working productively with the mediator
    • Ethical dilemmas in mediation
    • How to “follow-up” when the parties are unable to reach a settlement

    When: Thursday, May 21, 2020

    noon – 1:00 p.m.

    Registration: norcobar.org

    • NCBA Members admitted before November 1, 2014: $25.00
    • All BALC Members: $25.00
    • NCBA Members Admitted after November 1, 2014: $25.00
    • All other attendees: $40.00

    This course is pending approval for one hour of CLE by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

    About Judge Giordano

    Judge Giordano focuses his practice on estate and commercial litigation, and mediation and arbitration. As an arbitrator and mediator, he is certified through Harvard Law School Negotiation Institute in Advanced Mediation, is a fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, and is affiliated with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) Mediation. Judge Giordano serves as an arbitrator and mediator to the Judicial Roster, Real Estate, and Pennsylvania at Large ADR Panels of Distinguished Neutrals for the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution.

    For fifteen years, Judge Giordano served as judge for many jury trials and non-jury trials, hearings and motions, and a wide range of disputes under Pennsylvania and Federal Law, including construction, commercial litigation, professional malpractice, CERCLA, Civil Rights, condemnations, labor and land use appeals, criminal, and domestic relations. He served as a presiding judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Third Judicial District, from 2004 through 2018. Judge Giordano was Northampton County’s first administrative Judge of the Orphans’ County Division, overseeing estates and trusts of the county, and was named to the Statewide Orphans’ Court Task Force, an organization charged with implementing changes to Orphans’ Court. He was also the first Judge in Pennsylvania to institute guardianship certification requirements for the protection of senior citizens.

    Judge Giordano is Vice-Chair of the Orphans’ Court Procedural Rules Committee for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He is a Diplomate Member for mediation for the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, a member of the Board of Governors for Saint Thomas More Society, and a member of the Northampton County Bar Association Wills and Trusts Committee Lecturer. In 2005, Judge Giordano was the first judicial recipient to receive the Lehigh Valley Crime Victims Council Award for Outstanding Commitment to Victim’s Rights. He was also a recipient of the Bethlehem Catholic High School Distinguished Graduate Award.

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Events, Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.) | Tags: , ,

  • Jan 13, 2020Judge Giordano Selected for International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution Panels of Distinguished Neutrals

    The Honorable Emil Giordano (Ret.), a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of its Litigation Practice Group, has been selected to serve as an arbitrator and mediator to the Judicial Roster, Real Estate, and Pennsylvania at Large ADR Panels of Distinguished Neutrals for the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR).

    “I am excited to serve on the CPR Panels and look forward to continuing my mediation and arbitration work with such prominent and talented people. To be included is extremely humbling and I truly appreciate the recognition,” said Judge Giordano.

    About the CPR Panels of Distinguished Neutrals

    CPR is an independent nonprofit organization that has been assisting in the prevention and resolution of legal conflict more effectively and efficiently through ADR, such as mediation, arbitration, early neutral evaluation, and dispute resolution boards, for over forty years. CPR’s high standards are maintained by adherence to its Principles for Provider Organizations, ensuring that its mediators, arbitrators, and other neutrals are qualified and competent.

    The CPR Panels of Distinguished Neutrals are comprised of prominent attorneys, retired state and federal judges, academics, business executives, legal experts, and dispute resolution professionals who are highly-qualified to resolve all business disputes. To be admitted as a panelist, individuals are peer-reviewed; screened for their ADR expertise and training; and candidate references are asked to comment on the applicant’s qualifications to serve on complex commercial disputes. Qualification to the CPR panels is exclusive and rigorous.

    About Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.)

    Judge Giordano served as a presiding judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Third Judicial District, from 2004 through 2018. He was Northampton County’s first administrative judge of the Orphans’ County Division, overseeing estates and trusts of the county, and was named to the Statewide Orphans’ Court Task Force, an organization charged with implementing changes to Orphans Court. He was also the first judge in Pennsylvania to institute guardianship certification requirements for the protection of senior citizens.

    For 15 years, Judge Giordano presided over many jury trials and non-jury trials, hearings and motions, and a wide range of disputes under Pennsylvania and federal law, including construction, commercial litigation, professional malpractice, CERCLA, Civil Rights, condemnations, labor and land use appeals, criminal, and domestic relations.

    As an arbitrator and mediator, Judge Giordano is certified through Harvard Law School Negotiation Institute in Advanced Mediation. He is a fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators; is affiliated with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) Mediation; and has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN) as a Diplomate Member for mediation

    Judge Giordano is a member of the Board of Directors for the Notre Dame CYO, and of the Board of Governors for Saint Thomas More Society; and is the Northampton County Bar Association Wills and Trusts Committee Lecturer. In 2005, he was the first judicial recipient of the Lehigh Valley Crime Victims Council Award for Outstanding Commitment to Victims’ Rights. Commencing January 1, 2020, Judge Giordano has been designated Vice-Chair of the statewide Orphans’ Court Procedural Rules Committee by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

    Judge Giordano earned his J.D. in 1985 from Villanova University School of Law and his B.A. from Moravian College in 1982. A proud Moravian College alumnus, he serves as an Adjunct Professor for undergraduate classes. Born in Brooklyn to Italian immigrant parents, Judge Giordano was the first in his family to attend high school and is a graduate of Bethlehem Catholic High School, which presented him with its Distinguished Graduate Award.

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Hon. Emil Giordano (Ret.), News | Tags: ,

  • Nov 01, 2019Norris McLaughlin Recognized in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms For 10th Consecutive Year

    Law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is proud to announce that it has been selected for inclusion in 12 practice areas in the “2020 Best Law Firms” rankings by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. This marks the 10th consecutive year the firm has earned Metropolitan First-Tier rankings in New Jersey. The firm’s full listing of First Tier rankings is as follows:

    • Arbitration
    • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Energy Law
    • Environmental Law
    • Family Law Mediation
    • Litigation – Bankruptcy
    • Litigation – Construction
    • Litigation –- Environmental
    • Mediation
    • Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
    • Trusts & Estates Law

    “It’s an honor for the firm to be highly ranked in multiple, diverse practice areas. We are proud of our client relationships and it’s especially rewarding to earn this recognition based largely on their feedback,” said John N. Vanarthos, Chairman of the firm.

    About Best Law Firms

    From the start, the mission of Best Law Firms has been to help guide referring lawyers and clients – from the country’s largest companies needing corporate legal advice to individuals needing a divorce or a will – issues with bet-the-company implications or potentially life-changing results respectively. The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their fields, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. A full listing is posted online at www.usnews.com/bestlawfirms.

    About Norris McLaughlin

    Norris McLaughlin has been serving the New Jersey community and New York metropolitan area since 1953. Once a humble two-man practice on Main Street in Somerville, Norris McLaughlin has become the largest firm in Somerset County and one of the top 20 firms in New Jersey. Throughout its growth, the firm remembers its culture and values. Norris McLaughlin has remained a firm committed to client service, its community, and its employees. The firm and its attorneys have historically been committed to the communities where clients live and do business.

    Clients value a personal level of care, therefore the firm strives for deep, meaningful, people-first relationships with each one. With many of its attorneys selected as The Best Lawyers In America each year, in addition to its active repertoire of speaking engagements and legal publications, Norris McLaughlin possesses large-firm talent in a small-firm setting that allows its attorneys to provide service and value to their clients on a personal level. It is the firm’s goal to accommodate the needs of every client through the use of experience, strategic planning, and common courtesy.

    Norris McLaughlin is a full-service, mid-sized regional law firm of 130+ attorneys with main offices located in Bridgewater, NJ; New York, NY; and Allentown, PA.  For more information, including a full practice area listing and attorney biographies, please visit www.norrismclaughlin.com.

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Construction Law, Environmental, Estate Planning & Administration, Litigation, Matrimonial & Family Law, News, Products Liability Defense, Solar Energy | Tags: , ,

  • Aug 15, 2019Three Norris McLaughlin Attorneys Named 2020 Best Lawyers® “Lawyers of the Year” in Woodbridge Area

    Three lawyers from law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., were recently selected by The Best Lawyers in America© as 2020 “Lawyers of the Year” in the Woodbridge, New Jersey, Metro Area.

    Best Lawyers® designates a select group of individuals as “Lawyers of the Year” in high-profile specialties in large legal communities.  Only a single lawyer in each specialty in each Metropolitan Area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.” Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. Those honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings in the surveys by earning high levels of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.

    The firm’s 2020 Best Lawyers “Lawyers of the Year” include Martha N. Donovan for Litigation – Environmental, Morris S. Bauer for Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, and William A. Dreier for Arbitration.

    Donovan, a Member of the firm and Co-Chair of its Environmental Law Practice Group, devotes her practice to environmental law and complex litigation with an emphasis on the defense of environmental property damage claims. She also has considerable experience working on related insurance coverage matters. She has authored articles and has made presentations to various trade groups and associations on issues ranging from lender liability under Superfund to the availability of insurance coverage for various aspects of business-related accidents. Donovan is a member of the New Jersey State and American Bar Associations and the Society of Women Environmental Professionals. She has been selected for inclusion on the list of Super Lawyers® and Best Lawyers® for many years, named in Who’s Who Legal, and ranked as Band 1 in Chambers. A resident of West Windsor, Donovan earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and her B.A. in Chemistry from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, now Randolph College.

    Bauer, a Member of the firm, is a member of its Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Group. He represents debtors, creditors’ committees, financial institutions, landlords, and trade creditors in Chapter 11 proceedings of publicly and closely-held corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships. Bauer is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association (Debtor/Creditor Section), the American Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the Turnaround Management Association. A resident of Long Valley, he earned his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and his B.S. from Dickinson College.

    Judge Dreier, Of Counsel to the firm, focuses his practice in the areas of mediation and arbitration. He frequently lectures, mediates, and arbitrates substantial Chancery and other disputes. In 2009, he was selected as the namesake and the first recipient of the William A. Dreier Award, now given annually by the Products Liability and Toxic Tort Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) to attorneys and jurists for excellence in and advancement of product liability and toxic tort law in New Jersey. That same year, he was designated ADR Practitioner of the Year by the NJSBA Dispute Resolution Section.  In 2008, Judge Dreier was awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor, the highest award for an attorney, by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation for his professional excellence, as demonstrated by his accomplishments in the law and service to the profession and community throughout his career. In 2015, he was given the New Jersey Law Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the profession. Judge Dreier has published numerous articles on ADR, products liability, and other subjects, in addition to 380 published judicial opinions. He frequently lectures throughout New Jersey and nationally on products liability and ADR. Before joining Norris McLaughlin, Judge Dreier was a trial judge in the New Jersey Superior Court from 1973 to 1983, served in the Appellate Division from 1983 to 1994, and was a Presiding Judge from 1994 to 1998. A resident of Warren, he received his J.D. from Columbia Law School and his B.S. from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 75 countries.

    Posted in: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Environmental, Martha N. Donovan, Morris S. Bauer, News, William A. Dreier | Tags: , , ,

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