Burnet County court-at-law changes hands

After three terms on the Court as its first judge, the Hon. W.R. “Randy” Savage retired and the Hon. Linda Bayless was sworn in on January 1, 2015 as Judge of the Burnet County Court-at-law. Many thanks must go out to Judge Savage for getting that court organized from scratch and presiding over it in good fashion. Continue reading

Thanks for a good 2014

I am grateful for the continued opportunity to serve through the processes of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution. The year 2014 was successful for me in being able to keep my hand in the legal/judicial system, and for 94.8% of the 66 cases I mediated. We engaged in the process for a total of 401.75 hours, or an average of just over six hours per case. Continue reading

Before & After Drugs (Meth): The Horrors of Methamphetamine Infographic

Don’t view the photos on a full stomach. DO view them with your child, your grandchild, your (fill in the blank) if there is ANY possibility of drug usage, even “simple experimentation” with “harmless” drugs. Continue reading

Real estate contract disputes, a ripe area for mediation

The contract form approved by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC form 20-11) provides the option to agree to mediation if a dispute occurs. The language is:

MEDIATION: It is the policy of the State of Texas to encourage resolution of disputes through alternative dispute resolution procedures such as mediation. Any dispute between Seller and Buyer related to this contract which is not resolved through informal discussion ‰[ ] will   [ ] ‰will not be submitted to a mutually acceptable mediation service or provider. The parties to the mediation shall bear the mediation costs equally. This paragraph does not preclude a party from seeking equitable relief from a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

Why should a person selling or buying a property check the “will” box? The answer is simple: mediation can be conducted before a lawsuit is filed and, indeed, hopefully before feathers are too ruffled to permit effective discussion. The contracting party does not necessarily need an attorney but it will usually be best to have legal counsel.

The other part of “why do it” is that the mediation process can take place quickly, in a private forum as opposed to hanging your dirty laundry in public, and at a tiny fraction of the cost of even getting a lawsuit ready to file.

New mediation suite

I now have my own mediation suite located at 1307 Avenue D, Marble Falls. It includes a spacious conference room and multiple additional areas for breakout sessions with individual sides. Creature comforts are also available with a break room, refrigerator, microwave, coffee.

Why do this? Two reasons: First, it has become increasingly difficult to reliably get space in the Burnet Annex, clerk’s offices in a couple of the counties, etc. and those spaces are not ideal (except for the Burnet Annex).

Second, and most importantly, this provides a neutral location away from the offices of either of the attorneys. The law client often feels as if they are entering the lion’s den when the mediation is held at the opposition’s office.

How to find it is detailed on the Contact page.

Fast, pre-litigation mediation

I recently had the occasion to mediate a potential Will contest dispute.  The decedent pass away on March 1, a Will was located at his death but an earlier will was filed for probate on March 4. The case was successfully mediated on March 14.

Not THAT is fast, no suit filed, dispute resolved. If more disputants (and their lawyers) would take some time to consider pre-litigation mediation there might be a large among of angst and court time saved.  Texas statutes provide for it and while that may not be appropriate for many cases especially where discovery really is needed first in order to make an informed decision, pre-filing mediation probably fits many cases.