Mediation and Arbitration

In successful mediation and arbitration, the neutral party should be experienced, a good listener, able to see all sides of an argument and confident enough to be able to make fair decisions and recommendations. Throughout my legal career I've displayed these characteristics, both in my practice and my numerous Bar leadership roles.

Selecting a Mediator

Why should attorneys or insurance adjusters select me as a mediator in one of their personal injury or tort cases? Why should I stand out among the many fine attorneys who conduct mediations? To answer these questions I asked myself what do I look for in a mediator when I am wanting to mediate one of my client's cases.

What I look for in a mediator:

  1. Experience, both subject matter and life
  2. Listening skills
  3. Demonstration of Neutrality and Lack of bias
  4. Creativity
  5. Hard worker--does necessary preparation even if beyond materials submitted by parties
  6. Doesn't make any of the parties wrong
  7. Doesn't accept no for an answer and willing to continue working beyond allotted time frame, even if it takes days or weeks
  8. Consensus builder
  9. Able to see all sides of issue
  10. If see factual or legal issues in reviewing materials in advance of mediation, be willing to contact one or more parties and advise them to be prepared to respond and address at the mediation.
  11. Doesn't matter if mediator has plaintiff or defense background, if they have above characteristics.

On these last two points, to be a good mediator in civil litigation cases, you have to have had litigation/jury trial experience. For the most part this means you had to have represented plaintiffs or defendants, or both. Neither of these should be a disqualifying feature in selecting a mediator in a tort case. When I select a mediator I want someone who will be influential and persuasive in BOTH caucus rooms.

I believe I have these characteristics. Feedback from the hundreds of attorneys and adjusters with whom I have worked reinforces my belief.


"Steve is a very good mediator. He works hard to get the case settled, often staying at it once the day is over and getting it done soon thereafter. I have used him many times and will continue to do so in the future."
- James Gooding, Personal Injury Lawyer in Seattle, WA

"In addition to being an excellent attorney, Mr. Toole is an excellent and cost effective mediator. "
- Thomas Degan, Personal Injury Lawyer in Seattle, WA

"Steve Toole gets my endorsement because of his experience and track record for getting cases resolved. He is an excellent mediator and I highly recommend him. His 25+ years of experience are invaluable. He always seems to be in a great mood and is genuine, qualities that make him my first choice for mediation. Over years he has settled just about every case he has mediated for me."
- J.D. Smith, Car / Auto Accident Lawyer in Seattle, WA