Tag Archives: dispute resolution

mediation - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

U.N. taps Arizona Summit Law School prof to design system

FOX_8043SGonzalesArizona Summit Law School professor and founding faculty member Steven Gonzales was invited by the United Nations to assist the Industrial Court of Botswana on the development of the court’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) system. Professor Gonzales will advise the court on effective mediation and arbitration policies and practices, as well as provide comprehensive mediation training for the entire Industrial Court of Botswana’s judiciary. The one-week initiative begins in early October.

Professor Gonzales, who is a former administrative law judge and accredited NGO representative to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, is an established ADR professional. He was selected to lead this initiative by the United Nations because of his professional experience and previous work with the Industrial Court of Botswana through Arizona Summit Law’s externship program, which began in 2013. Responding to the court’s request for assistance with this ADR initiative, the United Nations is sponsoring Professor Gonzales’ participation, and hopes to influence other African countries to implement similar courts and ADR systems.

“The United Nations is offering both Professor Gonzales and the Industrial Court of Botswana a beneficial opportunity that will undoubtedly help to improve the legal system in Botswana, providing a valuable alternative to litigation,” said Dean Mays, Arizona Summit Law School. “Over the years, our professors and students have worked to find ways to make a direct positive impact on communities by promoting access to justice in the United States and around the world. This initiative marks important progress.”

“I am honored that the United Nations called upon me to help establish an ADR system, which has provided valuable alternatives to litigation in the United States and in other international legal systems” said Professor Steven Gonzales, Arizona Summit Law School. “I am hopeful that in addition to providing new resources to the Botswana people, students at Arizona Summit Law School will have future opportunities to be involved in the implementation of the ADR system as a result of my involvement.”

The Industrial Court of Botswana has many similarities to our Western legal system, including a separate independent arm for the judiciary.  Botswana’s judicial system also comprises a High Court and Court of Appeals, while the indigenous (Africans) are regulated under customary law.  The Industrial Court of Botswana oversees labor law, immigration, migration, dispute resolution and international trade law. Establishing a comprehensive ADR system further enhances Botswana’s judicial system.


Frutkin Law Firm Continues to Grow

The Frutkin Law Firm has added James Arrowood to its growing roster of attorneys. This is the third attorney hired by the firm in the past year. Arrowood brings extensive experience in business law, dispute resolution, and business negotiations to the firm.

As a Senior Counsel Attorney at The Frutkin Law Firm, Arrowood focuses his practice in the areas of conflict resolution and litigation, real estate, strategic financial and tax planning, and business law. He has also developed an emerging practice related to the special legal and financial needs of successful medical professionals and groups.

Before joining the firm, Arrowood served as counsel at one of the largest law firms in the world and as in-house counsel at several companies. As a result of his experience, he gained a wide breadth of business and legal knowledge, including an appreciation for business considerations in light of legal issues. Arrowood also spent a year living in London, England where he studied international law and interned in the House of Lords (England’s equivalent of our Supreme Court/Senate at the time). After law school, Arrowood worked as a litigator for a large firm in Philadelphia and then continued on to Washington D.C., New York, and Los Angeles before making Arizona his home base in 2010.

Arrowood graduated from the law school at University of Notre Dame in 2002 after he earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from University of California, Irvine in 1999. He has bar admissions in Arizona, California, and New Jersey, as well as affiliations with the 9th Circuit, California District Courts, District Court for Arizona, Eastern District Court for Pennsylvania, and United States Tax Court.

The Frutkin Law Firm now consists of ten attorneys with decades of experience in the core areas of business law, bankruptcy, estate and tax planning, and civil litigation. For more information on The Frutkin Law Firm and practices areas, visit www.frutkinlaw.com.

mediation - AZ Business Magazine March/April 2012

The ABC’s Of Mediation

Alternative dispute resolution can be a cost-effective way to resolve legal issues

From a business perspective, mediation makes sense as a strategic tool to reduce risk. You receive a great return on your investment of a relatively small amount of both time and money.

For those of you who might be new to legal disputes or serious conflict, here are the ABC’s of mediation.


Mediators are typically lawyers, ex-judges or in some instances non-lawyers who are trained, skilled and experienced in helping people resolve conflict. The mediator helps each person to explore various aspects of the conflict, to be open to new information, and to consider possible resolutions that may not have been considered before.

The mediator works to reach a resolution that works for all involved. Discussions occur in joint or separate session, or both. What the mediator thinks a reasonable resolution should be may or may not have any bearing on the outcome. His or her opinion is just one of many factors that are considered in evaluating whether, and how, to resolve a dispute.

When the goal is reached of resolving the conflict in a way that works for all parties, the mediator documents the agreement so that it is a binding settlement, or a commitment to future action in the workplace.


Mediation is a structured, confidential process where people in conflict seek to resolve their differences with the help of a neutral third party (the mediator) who facilitates a resolution that both parties agree to. In mediation, the parties make the final decision. Company representatives, including management representatives and/or human resources professionals typically attend on behalf of the business.

The outcome is a written agreement, which becomes a legally binding resolution. It is generally referred to as a “Settlement Agreement,” or a “Settlement Agreement and Release,” because it releases all claims against the company.

Mediation can typically be completed in a day-long session, although occasionally, some follow-up is needed.

Mediation is voluntary, in the truest sense of the word. That’s because no solution is imposed on anyone. It’s what the parties believe is fair, or workable, that controls. If the parties to the conflict do not agree, there is no resolution, and they can continue with any other avenues of redress available to them, such as proceeding in court, or pursuing other formal grievance processes.

Arbitration is a more formal, legalistic process. It is just like court, only a hearing (vs. a “trial”) is held in a private conference room. The Arbitrator is a typically a lawyer who acts as privately-retained judge. Opening and closing statements are given, exhibits are formally introduced, and witnesses give testimony under oath.

After the hearing, which can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, the Arbitrator renders a written, binding decision.


Consider using a mediator in three instances:
• Litigation has been filed. You’ve been sued, and it’s going to take years and likely cost well over $100,000 to get to trial. Funds put towards the fight could be better spent on resolution.
• Litigation has been threatened. If you’ve tried, but you have been unable to resolve a dispute informally between yourself and the other party, offer to bring in a mediator, for the same reasons.
• You have serious conflict between valuable employees. If your company’s productivity and the bottom line are being seriously impacted by workplace tension, bring in a mediator to help the parties work through the conflict.

Amy Lieberman is a mediator, arbitrator and the Executive Director of Insight Employment Mediation, based in Scottsdale. Her forthcoming book is titled, “Mediation Success: Get it Out, Get it Over and Get Back to Business.”

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012