ADR Systems


Champaign, Illinois – Hon. David G. Bernthal, (Ret.), senior mediator and arbitrator at ADR Systems, published a column in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette entitled, “Three disputes, three jobs well done.”

In the article, Judge Bernthal references a photograph by Pierpaolo Ferrari hanging in the reception area of ADR Systems’ dispute resolution center. The photograph is a blown-up version of W Magazine’s 2009 ‘The Art Issue’ cover depicting supermodel Linda Evangelista in business clothing holding a sign reading, “It Must Be Somebody’s Fault.” He discussed the relevance of this photograph to three mediations he had last month.

“I thought about [the photo] more and realized its powerful statement regarding how our society thinks about things,” Judge Bernthal explains in the column. “We do not like to admit we made a mistake or did something wrong. If something happens in our life that we do not like, there must be someone or some entity to blame.”

Mediation helps people get past ‘blame’ and move toward a more positive and productive way of resolving their dispute. The mediator aims to facilitate negotiations that lead to settlement. Often, mediators ask parties to identify what they want from a settlement – their interests. Working with parties to identify their core interests is not always an easy task.

“There are times I must gently point out the potential problems in their case to move parties forward,” Judge Bernthal said. “If I came in heavy-handed and immediately laid down the likely outcome in court, it would be like dropping a ton of bricks on the participants. As a neutral and as a retired judge, it’s my job to paint a non-emotional and unbiased picture of how each side views the case during mediation. Throughout the process, I assist parties in shifting their focus from blame to interests.”

To read the entire article published on September 9, 2017, click here.

Judge Bernthal served 21 years as a federal magistrate judge in the US District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Those who practiced before him have praised his skills as a jurist, describing him as both a learned scholar and efficient administrator. Judge Bernthal’s proven legal knowledge and keen understanding of negotiation are critical assets in both mediation and arbitration. In addition to Judge Bernthal’s work as a mediator and arbitrator, he also publishes a column, “Off the Bench,” monthly in the News-Gazette.

For Judge Bernthal’s full bio, click here.

For Judge Bernthal’s availability, click here.

At ADR Systems, It’s Settled.®

I was extremely pleased with a recent mediation at ADR Systems. The mediators constitute a veritable "who's who" of top-notch practitioners and former jurists with a wealth of experience across the legal spectrum.  I strongly recommend ADR Systems for even the most complex and contentious of cases.

Hillard M. Sterling, Esq.Sterling Tech Law | Waveland Law Group, LLC