About our mediation and arbitration services
By James C. Chaney
In the twenty years since I began the practice of law, the manner in which we’ve done business has changed drastically. True story: at a trial practice seminar which I attended last winter, and which was attended for the most part by trial lawyers of ten, twenty, or thirty years of experience, one of the speakers took a survey by show of hands of the group’s trial experience in the prior year. In a room of over 200 seasoned lawyers, only a very small handful tried more than five cases to juries in 2001. There are many reasons for this, but the one reason stands head and shoulders above the rest is the ascension of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) as a means of resolving cases.
There are several ingredients which need to be in place for ADR to really work, the most important being a real desire by the parties to resolve a case short of a full jury trial, and the willingness to put in the hard work to get there. In addition, quality service by an arbitrator or mediator, as the case may be, is crucial.
In my eleven years in Oregon, and nine years in California before that, I have successfully resolved scores of matters through ADR proceedings, and am more convinced now than I ever have been that a proper ADR strategy, employed thoughtfully and at the right time, can be the most powerful tool at a lawyer’s command. As a result of this conviction, I’m taking the opportunity presented by the formation of The Chaney Firm LLC to actively seek appointment as a mediator and arbitrator as a more regular part of my practice.
Here in Oregon, and particularly in Lane County, we are privileged to have both state and federal benches which may well be the best in the nation when it comes to settling cases. But this embarrassment of riches, so to speak, can (and in this part of Oregon, probably has) led to complacency on the part of practicing lawyers, and we cannot and should not take our talented settlement judges for granted. Particularly in these uncertain public budgetary times, it’s important that the private sector step up to do its part.
Since 1995, I have proudly served as a court-appointed arbitrator on many cases arising in the areas of personal injury, claimed construction defects and business disputes. In addition, my intimate knowledge of the interplay of probable exposures, case values, coverage issues, multiple coverage layers, excess exposure issues, reinsurance, self-insured retentions and retrospective premium policies makes me uniquely equipped to help resolve cases where those features are seen. These are the cases which cry out most for ADR: multiple parties, multiple policies, multiple lawyers, and gruesomely high fees and court costs if the case isn’t resolved. I know them well, and would be privileged to have the opportunity to be of assistance.
I am available to consult with interested parties throughout the state of Oregon regarding service as a mediator, as a single arbitrator, or as part of an arbitration panel; scheduling on evenings or weekends can be arranged if necessary, and at no extra cost.