Lawyer Monthly - ADR Awards 2023

24 LAWYER MONTHLY ADR AWARDS 2023 International Mediator of the Year Partner Jeff Morris Mediation What was it that led you to become an accredited mediator? After practicing corporate and commercial law for 21 years, it was time for a new challenge. Mediation’s growing acceptance as an alternative to expensive and timeconsuming litigation provided me with an opportunity to practice as a full-time mediator. I have loved every minute and still do, even after 20 years and over 4,000 mediations. How would you describe your style of mediation? I believe that a mediator should be able to employ the best approach for a given situation, so I think having one style is potentially limiting. If the parties desire a more evaluative approach, then I am comfortable offering a neutral point of view. This is done privately with each party in a separate caucus meeting. My unbiased comments are intended to give the party just another point of view to consider, so that they can make the best decision on their settlement options. We talk about the benefits of settlement as opposed to the risks of trial. On the other hand, it is fine to be more facilitative when the parties desire structured conversations and discussions to move towards resolution. Above all, it is critical to bring a wide range of tools to each case and not to quit before every effort has been made to arrive at a settlement. Lately, I find that parties are looking to the mediator to break an impasse by offering a mediator’s proposal, where the mediator suggests a settlement on a double-blind basis. Can you tell us anything about your proudest career achievements to date? When COVID hit, I quickly saw the opportunity to transition my practice entirely to a Zoom-based model. After developing an effective online mediation process, our provincial ADR Institute asked me to co-author a practice guide for other mediators and lawyers and teach them how to mediate using this new virtual technology. After conducting over 600 mediations on Zoom, I believe virtual mediations can be as effective as in-person sessions. I am proudest that I have been able to achieve high rates of settlement using an online process. CANADA Jeffrey Morris Q Q Q “It is critical to bring a wide range of tools to each case and not to quit before every effort has been made to arrive at a settlement.”

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