Pacific ADR Consulting | The Peacemakers

Among his colleagues, Gregg Bertram has been oft-described as the ideal mediator. One of his colleagues, Francis Floyd, of the Seattle-based law firm Floyd Ringer, had this to say about Gregg: “Bottom line—he’s very effective and he gets cases settled. He’s also entertaining.  Clients like Gregg; they feel as though he gets the job done, that he understands them and their position, so they don’t walk away feeling like they’ve been beaten up. The parties feel as though they’ve been treated in a professional and respectful manner.”

Most of Gregg Bertram’s ADR experience came from his long consecutive affiliations with two ADR service providers: Washington Arbitration Mediation Services, Inc. (WAMS) and Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS). For over twenty-five years, Gregg has successfully mediated or arbitrated thousands of civil cases of just about every description and falling under the full range of practice areas.

According to Jennifer Hills, ARM-P, CRM, Director, Office of Risk Management, King County Department of Executive Services, “I’ve worked with Gregg for 15 years. He is very experienced in all aspects of the law: civil liability, land use/construction, civil rights, employment practices, and auto liability. He has a propensity to follow-up, if necessary, and gets along with everyone.”

Over the years as Gregg evolved in his profession as an expert mediator and arbitrator, he worked frequently in Seattle but also elsewhere, throughout the Pacific Northwest and in Alaska. Soon he came to see that the ADR market could benefit from a new ADR service provider.

Gregg Bertram had enough insight into the competitive marketplace to ascertain that being a retired judge or former insurance defense litigator didn’t necessarily make a good mediator. In fact, he commented, “It seems as if every attorney in their 60s wants to be a mediator. The phrase ‘many are called but few are chosen’ is especially applicable to mediation, a career that is reputational and one that requires, among other things, relentless energy, and a special set of skills that are as much a function of personality as legal acumen and experience.”

Today, Pacific ADR is building a small panel of elite attorney mediator/arbitrators, each of whom has a passion for ADR in addition to having very successful legal careers.  In his undertaking to expand the firm by selectively recruiting new panelists, Gregg Bertram sought attorneys whose work ethic clearly matched his own. He also sought panelists who are eminently suited to ADR work in that they have an abiding passion to resolve disputes. Aside from having the requisite subject matter expertise, the Pacific ADR panelists have the people skills necessary to navigate the many different personalities and, these days, cultural backgrounds that one regularly encounters at the negotiating table. 

According to Gregg, “Our panel members are known for their preparation, commitment to best mediation practices and, when necessary, determined follow up after mediation sessions to achieve resolution.”

Mediations are dramatic events for everyone involved. A good mediator has to bring energy to the event and maintain a measure of equanimity to the concerns of all parties.  The only way a mediator can function is if the mediator is trusted. This is why Pacific ADR mediators/arbitrators always operate from a position of trust and impartiality where all of the parties—clientele and lawyers—are fairly heard.   

“All of us feel very lucky to do what we do,” Gregg went on to say.  “Unlike many other aspects of the law, it is very satisfying to help individuals and public and private institutions settle disputes that at first may appear impossible to resolve.”     

The primary industries served by Pacific ADR include Business/Commercial, Employment/Human Resources (HR), Healthcare, Insurance and Real Estate. Pacific ADR also mediates and arbitrates cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice, and other professional negligence, including legal and accounting malpractice cases. Although Pacific ADR Consulting, LLC, is based in Seattle, its CEO Gregg Bertram and other Pacific ADR panel members work throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.  For more information, please see www.pacificadrconsulting.com.

Pacific ADR panelists have several outstanding qualities. They are trustworthy, hardworking, credible and flexible. Each panelist understands the dynamics of each case and of the parties and knows how to adjust his or her method and style to the particular situation to make a settlement happen.

Introducing the Panelists:

Lori Bemis has participated in numerous arbitrations and more than a hundred mediations in a variety of civil litigation matters, including employment law, business disputes, TEDRA matters, and personal injury matters. Ms. Bemis also has experience with civil jury trials as counsel for both Defendants and Plaintiffs. In addition to being a panelist for Pacific ADR Consulting, she is managing partner at the Tacoma-based law firm McGavick Graves.

“Mediation preparation may include analysis of insurance coverage issues and identification of resultant challenges and coordination of decision makers prepared to address such issues.”  -Lori Bemis

Gregg Bertram is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most experienced and respected mediator/arbitrators. In the past twenty-five years Gregg has successfully mediated several thousand civil cases of virtually every dimension.   Gregg is a former JAMS shareholder and was previously designated “Master Mediator” by his first ADR service provider, Washington Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (WAMS). He is former Chair of the Federal Bar Association ADR Section, a member of the ADR Roundtable and National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals and panelist of the American Arbitration Association.

“Our panel members are passionate about being true neutral and inspire trust from all of the parties in a dispute.”  – Gregg Bertram

Kathy Cochran has been an active trial lawyer since 1975, generally focusing on pharmaceutical, medical product, and medical malpractice litigation. She has participated as an advocate in numerous mediations, negotiating creative solutions and overcoming significant obstacles to dispute resolution. She has identified the important factors that influence a party’s willingness to settle and has developed techniques for overcoming negative factors that sometimes prevent resolution of complex claims. Kathy is also an accomplished arbitrator.

“Mediation is definitely preferable when emotional issues dominate, because both parties have more at stake than just saving the costs of litigation.” – Kathy Cochran

Roger Hillman began his career as a litigator on the East Coast. After over ten years as Senior Vice President of Claims for three national insurance carriers, he resumed his litigation practice in the Northwest. Over the past twenty-five years, Roger concentrated his practice on health care and insurance matters, while also handling commercial disputes. His insurance background gives him a unique perspective, enabling him to resolve complex coverage matters, both for insurers and insureds, often without the need for protracted litigation.

“The most important characteristic of a good mediator is being a good listener.” – Roger Hillman

Troy Hunter began his mediation career at the University of Washington, where he worked to resolve small claims litigation and community disputes through UW’s Mediation Clinic.  In his 18 years as a civil trial attorney, he has litigated a diverse array of cases for both plaintiffs and defendants involving personal injury/wrongful death, sexual abuse/ misconduct and product liability. As a civil litigator, he has successfully negotiated the mutually satisfactory resolution of hundreds of cases.  He recently completed the internationally recognized mediator certification program at the Straus School for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University, School of Law, in Malibu, CA.

“Through 18 years of litigating cases for plaintiffs and defendants, I realized I have an ability to deeply understand interests on all sides of a dispute and can facilitate mutual understanding of those positions so that commonality can be explored and resolution of the dispute achieved.” – Troy Hunter

Andrew Kinstler has been a litigator with the law firm of Helsell Fetterman LLP since 1982.  He has a civil trial practice with an emphasis on employment law, commercial litigation and personal injury, both on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants.  He has tried more than 50 civil cases to verdict, has participated in hundreds of mediations and other methods of alternative dispute resolution, and is regularly selected to arbitrate litigated matters. 

I bring my perspective as a trial attorney who has represented defendants and plaintiffs to the mediation process, with a goal of assisting counsel for the parties to find creative solutions to difficult cases.”  - Andy Kinstler

Paula McCandlis is a shareholder and co-managing partner at Brett McCandlis & Brown, PLLC. She has spent 20 years working as a trial attorney on cases that range from personal injury and wrongful death to insurance bad faith claims, criminal law, family law, juvenile law, civil commitments, real estate transactions, and appellate law.  She has certifications to act as a mediator in civil cases, family law cases and collaborative law cases. She served as a Pro Temp Superior Court Commissioner in Whatcom County for 5 years, and presided over numerous settlement conferences. 

“A good mediator creates dialogue and keeps the parties talking.  Many times in a mediation one or both parties will want to give-up and walk away.  A good mediator uses different skills to keep the parties working towards a resolution. – Paula McCandlis

John Wilson is managing partner at Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P., where he handles a wide range of civil litigation and personal injury cases, including complex professional negligence matters. He has litigated cases on both the plaintiff and defense side. He is regularly appointed by the court to serve as a settlement guardian ad litem in personal injury cases. He has successfully resolved cases for clients on both sides of the bar in hundreds of mediations and arbitrations, as well as serving as a neutral arbitrator and mediator in many more.

“Assisting each party to think through and recognize the elements of risk in their case is important in every mediation. I emphasize the word "assisting" because the odds of a successful mediation increase when a party comes to understand, voice and own their risks rather than being browbeaten with them by the mediator. That said, a nimble mediator carries a number of tools and approaches to creatively work with the unique personalities and issues in each case.” – John Wilson

Catherine Bergin Yalung has practiced law for over 23 years, generally focusing on real estate matters. She has managed litigation in a 10-state region for a national underwriter, and has successfully settled hundreds of cases--many through mediation--involving complex real estate, creditor-debtor and contract disputes. Representative matters include title insurance, breach of warranty, boundary disputes, forgery, non-judicial foreclosure, bankruptcy, breach of contract and fraudulent conveyance. She is adept at formulating strategies to solve problems and achieve mutually-acceptable settlements.

“A good mediator is substantively prepared, knows the case, understands the parties' positions, and continues to ask questions throughout the mediation. Through effective communication and managing emotions, she creates the right circumstances that allow the parties to resolve disputes and reconcile conflicts. She is persistent and will be committed to the process, especially when the parties appear to be at impasse.” - Catherine Bergin Yalung

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