Everyone is frustrated by the high cost and long delays in resolving disputes. Judges and Magistrate Judges expend their energies and wisdom wrestling with it. Rule makers spend countless hours trying to beat it. Even large corporations find themselves unable to bring their cases to a decision because of the cost and disruption of complex civil dispute resolution. Despite all these efforts, the problem gets worse.
The reason is that, despite our recognition, our concern and even our rules, we do not effectively incentivize efficient dispute resolution. We urge people to be reasonable and fair. But we operate in ways that, all too often, leave participants still believing that they achieve better results by being unreasonable and unfair.
For example, when I became a lawyer, the rules of professional responsibility taught us to defend our clients zealously within the bounds of law. The language has changed since, but the philosophy remains. A lawyer is a champion who fights for a client. That is one of our profession’s greatest strengths. But it also requires vigilance from those who care about dispute resolution. If lawyers perceive that being unfair and unreasonable works better for a client, they are incentivized to act on this perception. Telling lawyers “defend your client zealously, just don’t do it too much,” isn’t an effective message.
It is the one that says “I will manage your dispute. I work with the parties so that all sides act reasonably and neither succeeds by being unreasonable.”
That is the message that aligns the interest we all have in efficient dispute resolution with the need to champion our clients’ causes.
As a special master, arbitrator or mediator, I will manage your dispute fairly and efficiently. I will work with parties to identify problems, facilitate solutions and get issues resolved. I bring to these efforts the experience of having litigated for over 35 years.
As a litigator and counselor to businesses on dispute resolution, I will manage your problem with a view towards getting a solution that works for you. I will bring to these efforts the creativity of alternative dispute resolution.
I’ve worked with Merril for more than 20 years. He brings a unique and valued perspective to dispute resolution. His wealth of complex litigation experience, detailed knowledge of the insurance industry, and longstanding relationships with plaintiffs’ counsel, defense counsel and insurance executives will greatly facilitate the resolution complex disputes in a fair and reasonable manner. You can be confident that your position will be evaluated carefully, thoroughly and with integrity, and if there is a way to settle on good terms, Merril will almost certainly find it.
Merril Hirsh worked with DC Appleseed pro bono on a project designed to make DC’s Attorney General more accountable to the public and make it an elected office. The project required careful analysis of a number of competing claims as well as the bringing together of a number of conflicting viewpoints. Merril was superb at both those undertakings and helped lead us to a really good outcome for the residents of DC.
I practiced law with Merril for more than 20 years. Among other things, he taught me how to take my very first deposition as a newly-minted attorney, and we worked together on complex litigation matters, from insurance coverage to patent and trademark disputes. Merril is one of the smartest people I know. He has an uncanny ability to identify all the nuances and angles of even the most complex matters, analyze them thoroughly, and explain them persuasively. Merril is someone who could pick up pretty much any case in any subject matter and figure it out very quickly.
Merril Hirsh is an organized and experienced litigator who gets things done! He has been chairing a special ABA Committee relating to Special Master appointments. I have worked with him on this project for the past 18 months. He is efficient and effective. He encourages others to work with him and with each other. These traits would make him an outstanding mediator, arbitrator or special master.
Merril Hirsh is the complete package. His deep and broad experience as a counselor and litigator, in advocating on behalf of clients and understanding their interests, complements his innate talent as an effective neutral. Add to all of that a superlative work ethic, creativity, and a passion for “getting to ‘yes.’” A lawyer and her or his client will be in excellent hands with Merril as the neutral.