Hon. Michael J. Powers, (Ret.) and Hon. Stuart A. Nudelman, (Ret.), senior mediators and arbitrators at ADR Systems, recently participated in a panel discussion on their post-judicial careers in alternative dispute resolution for a joint event hosted by the Illinois State Bar Association and Illinois Judges Association. The retired judges shared insights from their time as mediators and arbitrators of personal injury and commercial disputes, and they offered recommendations to sitting judges interested in pursuing post-judicial careers in alternative dispute resolution.
“You need to be passionate about alternative dispute resolution, and you need to cultivate experience in it. On the bench, you’ll get this experience by holding pretrial settlement conferences,” said Judge Powers, who, for the last five-and-a-half years of his judicial career in Will County, served exclusively as a pretrial judge—a unique position among Illinois state court judges in which he cultivated an expansive record of settlements on all types of Law Division cases.
Judge Powers explained that his passion for ADR is reinforced after every settlement because he sees how mediation makes a difference in the lives of the disputants. Mediation guarantees a result—one the parties, not a jury or a judge, control. Moreover, confidential settlement agreements are binding and enforceable in court. “For plaintiffs in injury matters, this means they get their money and a sense of closure. For the defendants—most often the insurance companies—mediation lets them close out files expeditiously, privately, and less expensively.”
Judge Nudelman supplemented Judge Powers’ comments with a suggestion that sitting judges also familiarize themselves with a broad spectrum of personal injury and commercial matters.
“Parties seek out mediators and arbitrators who know the law surrounding their case,” said Judge Nudelman. “More knowledge and experience with different matters increases your marketability for more work. Become that dynamic, diversified pretrial judge on the bench and you’ll be more appealing to parties as a neutral off the bench.”
Judge Nudelman also stressed that a lot of what goes into being a good judge goes into being a good mediator or arbitrator. “Get to work on time. Read what the attorneys give you—and show it. Be decisive. And be nice. Reputation follows you. Parties want to work with neutrals who are respectful, conscientious and know their case.”
To learn more about Judge Powers and Judge Nudelman, click the links below to explore their neutral bios.
Hon, Michael J. Powers, (Ret.) is uniquely positioned to excel as a mediator and arbitrator. For 14 of his 18 years on the bench in Will County, Judge Powers served as a pretrial settlement judge in the Law Division. Further, he exclusively dedicated his last six years as a jurist to settling over 1,000 personal injury and commercial cases at pretrial, cultivating robust skills as a mediator.
Hon. Stuart A. Nudelman, (Ret.) is a senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems. He is highly experienced in commercial, personal injury and complex construction matters, among many others. He has resolved more than 2,000 mediations and arbitrations throughout the United States in the past eight years.
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