Thomas J. Brewer is a partner in the Seattle and Alaska firm of Wickwire Greene Crosby Brewer & Seward. He has 25 years’ experience representing clients in judicial, agency, and ADR proceedings as a commercial litigator, and has also maintained an active practice as a neutral arbitrator and mediator of commercial and other cases for the past 15 years. He is a member of the AAA’s National Commercial Panel, and is also a member of the AAA’s Northwest Region Large Complex Case and Mediation Panels.
Lawrence R. Mills is the managing principal of the Seattle law firm Mills Meyers Swartling. For over 25 years, he has practiced business law and commercial litigation. During the past 15 years, he has devoted a significant portion of his practice to serving as a neutral dispute resolver in a wide variety of contexts. He is an AAA arbitrator and a memberof the AAA Mediation Panel in the Northwest Region. He has served as a neutral in “med-arb” proceedings on numerous occasions.
Combining mediation and arbitration in sequence can be a fair, efficient and cost-effective process for resolving disputes. Hybrid "med-arb" proceedings that seek to combine the virtues of mediation and arbitration can offer real advantages to clients, including reduced costs, certain resolution of the dispute within a reasonable time, and enhanced client control over the dispute resolution process. Such combined "med-arb" proceedings may also pose significant disadvantages for participating clients, and important ethical issues for the neutral, however, when the proceeding calls for the mediation and the arbitration to be conducted by the same person. This article reviews these issues.