In April of 2015, ADR Systems welcomed Hon. R. Peter Grometer, (Ret.) to our distinguished panel of mediators and arbitrators. We interviewed our newest neutral to find out why he decided to become a mediator after retiring from the bench, and what advice he had to offer attorneys preparing for mediation.
Judge Grometer is a longtime champion of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Early in his judicial career, Judge Grometer supported mandatory arbitration and court-approved mediation pilot programs being developed in Illinois at that time. Upon his retirement from the Illinois Appellate Court, Judge Grometer wanted to continue helping attorneys and their clients resolve their disputes in a timely and cost-effective manner. Judge Grometer believes that mediation is not only a faster and less expensive option for many disputes, but that it also avoids the “broad brush approach” of a trial verdict. In mediation, parties can craft settlement agreements that are specific to their case. In addition, mediation provides a forum for parties to address the emotional and personal issues that are often involved in a dispute, giving clients more closure than is typically offered in litigation. For example, Judge Grometer described how inspiring it is to see plaintiffs involved in medical malpractice suits forgive the defendants after seeing that they, too, are in anguish over the dispute.
As for how attorneys can most effectively use mediation, Judge Grometer suggests coming to the table with an open mind and a willingness to negotiate. In his experience, attorneys who are unfamiliar with mediation may treat it like they do a trial. Litigation is by nature adversarial, but as Judge Grometer explains, that line of thinking can hinder the process. In order for the process to run smoothly, parties should be forthcoming with information that can shape the outcome of the dispute. Parties should also be willing to negotiate fairly, as unreasonable offers and demands can put both sides on the defensive and quickly bring negotiations to a halt.
Judge Grometer is a former Presiding Justice of the Second District Appellate Court and the former Chief Judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit Court. He has more than 40 years of experience resolving a variety of matters, including insurance coverage, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, and construction disputes. Recognized by his colleagues for his intellect and even temperament, Judge Grometer’s composure and ability to deeply understand complex issues characterize his style as a neutral.
For Judge Grometer’s full bio, click here.
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