MARKETING EXPERTS SAY THAT I SHOULD BE TELLING YOU THAT I AM SOMEONE WHO HAS SHARPENED HIS MIND BY NARROWING IT: that the right neutral to pick is an expert in the particular issue involved in your dispute and that I have that expertise. This may be the right way for a neutral to market, but I don’t think it is the right way to pick a neutral. I believe effective dispute resolution is, itself, a skill that benefits from broad experience.
Why would you want a neutral who has litigated cases in courts in over 40 states? Who has represented the Department of Education in the Kansas City school desegregation case and both plaintiffs and defendants in class action and antitrust litigation? Who has represented professional and general liability insurers faced with billions of dollars of exposure and whistleblowers alleging fraud against taxpayers? Who has handled disputes in Baton Rouge, Bismarck, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Memphis, Cleveland, Boston, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Sioux Falls, Washington, Phoenix, Greenville, SC, and dozens of other cities and towns around the country?
Because this experience matters. A neutral with diverse and extensive litigation experience appreciates and understands what both parties are experiencing, and draws from a large toolkit to arrive at a fair resolution efficiently.
Too often this does not happen. Disputes, whether in court, arbitration, mediation or negotiation, bog down. Parties waste time and money on disputes that do not matter and miss opportunities to take advantage of better options to resolve the ones that do fairly and efficiently.
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.