Dallas Mediator Shares Dispute Resolution Trends with The Texas Lawbook

The Texas Lawbook’s Brooks Igo recently sat down with L. J. Johnson to hear his perspectives on dispute resolution trends.

Igo: What kind of trends are you seeing in mediation?

Johnson: Mediation is following the legal profession in terms of recognizing the importance of specialization, and lawyers and GCs who hire mediators increasingly want someone who knows their business, knows the lingo and knows how the industry operates. I’ve chosen to focus on areas where I have the most experience and knowledge.

Another trend that is really starting to resonate is early dispute resolution. I’m a huge believer in jumping in early – sometimes before litigation is even filed – to resolve conflicts and keep parties out of long, drawn-out and expensive lawsuits. In today’s in-house environment, there is more legal work, fewer resources and static legal budgets. Saving legal dollars for a GC can help him or her better contribute to the company’s bottom line. Even in cases where resolution is not possible, early intervention has a way of identifying the core issues, facts and documents that need to be addressed, which results in more streamlined and cost-effective litigation. You end up with a more satisfied client. Having stood in the general counsel’s shoes, I know it’s a value proposition that’s hard to ignore.

Lastly, I think there is an opportunity to employ conflict resolution principles and skills early on in the real estate development process to facilitate discussions between project developers and special interest groups such as neighborhood groups or environmental groups, who want the project denied or drastically altered. Texas is a great place for a conflict resolution practice given the amount of ongoing work involving ambitious projects and high profile public-private mixed-use developments, as well as the massive corporate relocations that are driving real estate and business demand in the regional economy. Where there’s that much activity, sooner or later there will be issues that need addressing and conflicts that need to be mediated.

A portion of the Q&A with The Texas Lawbook is above. To read the entire article, click here.