South Carolina Lawyers Weekly
Wyche attorney, John Moylan, was recently featured in article entitled “Formalized ADR means better resolutions, fewer trials, lawyers say,” written by Paul Tharp of South Carolina Lawyers Weekly.
The article discusses the rise in formalized alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in South Carolina trial courts and the fact that attorneys agree that this practice is good for litigants, attorneys, and clients.
South Carolina Lawyers Weekly spoke with Wyche attorney and mediator, John Moylan, to get his take on ADR and its impact on the legal community.
“I think it has been a good thing overall,” Moylan said. “A lot of attorneys were skeptical of the program on the front end, but I think that by and large, most attorneys have seen the good that mediation can do.”
Moylan highlighted that the primary benefit of mediations is the service they provide to clients, saying “The reason we went to law school and became lawyers was to serve clients, and clients are undoubtedly served by the mediation process.”
Tharp also spoke with Danny Mullis, the ADR program director for the U. S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, who also comments on the benefits of ADR.
“Mediations in particular provide lawyers with the opportunity to be so much more than advocates for clients,” Mullis said. “In mediations, lawyers do more counseling than advocating.”
Mullis went on to say that, “In the mediation setting, you have the parties and their lawyers working in concert with the assistance of a mediator to get the client’s needs and desires met through negotiated resolution. In the courtroom setting, the remedy is limited to the elements of damages available for whichever particular cause of action the client has brought.”
Tharp asked both Moylan and Mullis about any downsides to the rise of formalized ADR practices in South Carolina and they both agreed that if there is a downside, it’s that there are now fewer trials and younger lawyers therefore have less experience.
“We see fewer trials now, and so trial experience is hard to come by,” Moylan said. “The result is that there are fewer attorneys comfortable going into court and trying cases.”
Moylan reemphasizes though that mediation programs in state and federal courts have been a great benefit to many people in South Carolina.
“There are an awful lot of things that parties to litigation fight over that adults ought to resolve by talking out in mediation,” Moylan said. “The formalization of the program has allowed that to happen.”