How Not to Suck at Mediation: A Guide For Lawyers

John Leo Wagner Mike Young
July 02, 2016


In recent years, lawyers have become very familiar with alternate dispute resolution processes, but too many still suck at mediation – and they don’t even know it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this fast-paced program, renowned mediators and former Presidents of the International Academy of Mediators, Hon. John Leo Wagner (Ret.) and Michael D. Young, provide lawyers with specific and practical tips and advice to turn every mediation into a productive and constructive process that achieves the best possible results for the client. Drawing from decades of experience mediating disputes of all sizes, shapes and colors, Judge Wagner and Mr. Young pull no punches in giving lawyers candid advice about what works and what doesn’t in mediations, including key dos and don’ts. This program goes beyond the basic and delves into some of the more subtle and intricate maneuvers in the mediation process that can make the difference between a dream mediation . . . and a nightmare.


John Wagner, Judicate West, Los Angeles, CA

Mike Young, Judicate West, Los Angeles, CA

John Leo Wagner has 29 years' experience in conducting ADR processes. In 1997, he left the Federal bench to become the Director of the Irell & Manella ADR Center, where he engaged in a full-time practice as a neutral. He previously served for 12 years as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Oklahoma. He was appointed to this position at age 31, after trying many substantial cases to verdict as litigation partner with Kornfeld & Franklin. While on the Federal bench, he founded and administered a court-annexed mediation program and served as an ADR neutral, in addition to maintaining a full civil caseload. Judge Wagner has successfully conducted thousands of mediations and arbitrations. He is respected and requested for his extensive experience and skill in resolving multi-party, and extremely complex issues in cases involving intellectual property, construction defect, environmental and mass torts, as well as securities and consumer class actions. He has also earned a reputation for handling matters with a high emotional content including employment, civil rights, partnership dissolution plus all types of business, insurance and personal injury disputes. One client commented: "Judge Wagner offers a unique combination of federal bench and private practice experience. With this experience and his calm and even-handed disposition he earned everyone's respect." Both plaintiff and defense concur Judge Wagner is knowledgeable, intelligent, creative, perceptive and works relentlessly to resolve disputes. John is a long time Distinguished Fellow with the International Academy of Mediators, and its former President.

Mike, a former employment, intellectual property and business litigator and mediator with the national firm Alston & Bird, has been mediating cases since 1989. Building off of his extensive litigation experience, and his training through the nationally acclaimed Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine Law School, he assists parties resolve contentious and complex civil disputes, often in creative and innovative ways that the parties themselves had not previously considered. He has extensive experience both litigating and mediating all varieties of employment, intellectual property, and business disputes, including class actions and single-plaintiff matters. On the employment side, these have included wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, disability, public policy, wage and hour, and misclassification disputes, among others. On the IP side, Mike had handled disputes over trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, patents, and restrictive covenants. In addition, in his 25-plus year legal career, he has mediated, litigated, and tried hundreds of disputes involving unfair competition, antitrust, and environmental issues (including CERCLA and RCRA cases), among other complex business disputes. Mike is a long time Distinguished Fellow with the International Academy of Mediators and former President, and was an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law for nearly a decade, and at the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine Law School, teaching mediation and ADR.

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