Paul Gordon has training in both transformative and zero-sum mediation. He will work with parties together or separately as they prefer and does not push one approach over another. He also offers other services, including arbitration, case evaluation, trial consulting, special master assistance, and law firm business consulting.
The Colorado Constitution requires the State of Colorado to provide its residents with a public place to present complaints against other businesses and individuals. The State created a system of courts “of record” and empowered the courts to establish and enforce resolutions to disputes. This process might be called “primary dispute resolution.” However, residents may choose to pursue alternative procedures, which are sometimes called “alternative dispute resolution” or “ADR.” Mediation is one form of ADR. To avoid the expense and uncertainty of trial, the parties to a dispute can hire a “neutral” or “mediator” to facilitate communication among the parties, who may find that the dispute has destroyed productive communications. As a mediator, Paul provides many years of trial experience and complex dispute experience to help the parties. At a time and place the parties select, Paul will provide the parties with focused attention on the dispute and knowledgeable shuttle diplomacy for the resolution.
As a mediator, Paul has no authority to dictate a solution to a dispute. He simply shuttles messages back and forth between the parties or mitigates the tension of direct conversations. However, the parties may choose to hire Paul to make a decision — another form of ADR called “dispositive arbitration” or simply “arbitration.” As an “arbiter” or “arbitrator,” Paul will listen to evidence at a hearing (similar to trial), render an “award,” and provide a written explanation for the award. In addition, if necessary, Paul will decide the answers to questions preliminary to the evidentiary hearing. Parties sometimes choose arbitration because it can be private, faster, and less expensive than a trial, and still, a court of record can enter a judgment enforcing the arbiter’s award.
Just as parties can hire Paul to decide all of their disputes, parties can hire Paul to resolve just some of their disputes. This form of partial ADR has many names but they all boil down to the power of the parties to limit how far an arbiter may go to resolve the differences. The parties can control the scope of the arbiter’s authority. A typical example of partial arbitration involves the production of confidential evidence, such as trade secrets or especially private information. Another example of private and limited arbitration arises when dispositive arbitration involves evidence that the parties do not yet want to the final arbiter to see. Paul can provide confidential preliminary rulings on the admissibility of evidence at the evidentiary hearing.
Paul will accept most court appointments to a special master position. A special master is like an arbiter with limited authority but limited at a court’s direction rather than the parties’ direction. The court defines the limitations, and the special master works for the court. A typical example of an action with a special master is an action involving a large volume of documents. Paul has worked on three nine-figure lawsuits involving tens of millions of pieces of paper. He has also worked on cases with highly sensitive evidence requiring special protections for confidentiality. When a case is already in litigation, one or more parties can ask a court to appoint Paul to be a special master.
Paul will assist lawyers and their clients, separately or both, with evaluating the evidence and recommending further actions. A private and neutral review can help lawyers and clients avoid catastrophe. Paul’s reviews prove helpful in cases involving contingent fees and substantial litigation costs. Likewise, Paul can help bridge gaps between a lawyer’s opinions and a client’s expectations. Alternatively, Paul can provide a confidential evaluation for the benefit of the lawyer alone. Even the best of lawyers benefit from a fresh set of eyes.
Paul has worked with numerous lawyers handling their first courtroom appearances. He has served as a judge for the world moot court competition in Washington, D.C. and for mock trial and moot court competitions at the national, regional, and local levels as well as the law school, undergraduate, and high school levels. He will watch beginners in the courtroom and both before and during trial. Paul can help beginners and experienced advocates refine their skills to get to the next level.
LAW FIRM BUSINESS CONSULTANT
Paul was the senior and managing partner of a law firm with eleven staff and 23 lawyers across Colorado and North Carolina. His undergraduate degree was in marketing and finance. He can help lawyers as proprietors by evaluating a firm’s business structure and by sharing his own successes and failures. Paul knows all too well the difference between courtroom advocacy and business acumen.