Reviews from Mediation Participants

What follows is a sampling of unsolicited excerpts from letters and emails received from counsel and client attendees after mediation. The notation (videoconference) means that the mediation being discussed was one done via videoconferencing and without any in-room contact by Joan Morrow with the parties or counsel.

"As I look back on my career, I've had the good fortune to work with a lot of good people . . . who make me look better than I am. You are near the top of that list. I always look smart recommending you. If a case can get settled, you will get it done. And, if it can't, everyone know the best deal that was available. But this is key: you have a manner that lets my clients feel as good about the process as possible, they feel that they made a good decision -- and I benefit from that. I am never left with an angry client. I am sure that is also the case in the other room, which is why you are so well-respected by plaintiff's and defense counsel. . . .
     You are a model of class. You are able to determine quickly who you are dealing with and adopt the approach that will work best with them. And your patience and continued grace in the face of grouchiness is uncommon."

Defense counsel (Videoconferences)

"I knew you were the person to get this done. We needed someone who cared as much about finding resolution as the parties. . . . Your skills and professionalism are literally unmatched. [My clients'] complete trust in you allowed them to set aside their understandable concerns and move towards resolution. And you are one of the few people who can tell me when I may be missing something and I actually pay attention."

Plaintiff's Counsel (Videoconference)

"You are an excellent mediator and I'm very glad (our outside counsel) recommended you. I was skeptical at first of mediation by videoconference but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. Thank you for getting our case resolved. I expect you will have the opportunity to do many more in the future.

Corporate Counsel (videoconference)

"Thank you for your hard work and perseverance yesterday. Without your efforts this matter could not have been resolved . . . I truly appreciate your dedication to helping the parties work through the many issues which arose over the course of the day and the long run up to mediation which preceded it. I was repeatedly impressed by your poise, professionalism and -- when called for -- dogged determination, all of which were instrumental in achieving settlement. It was a true pleasure working with you."

Plaintiff's Counsel

"Thanks for your wonderful work yesterday. We could not have resolved this case without your top-notch skills. Plus, I am now a videoconference convert! It worked seamlessly and I truly did forget that you weren't physically present in the room with us."

Claims Counsel ( videoconference)

"You made a very favorable impression on me when mediating our recent case. . . .It was your display of emotional IQ that shone through for me. Some other mediators have great legal smarts like you do, but of those, very few have your high emotional IQ. That really is an enormous advantage."

Plaintiff's counsel

"I wanted to thank you again for your assistance in reaching a settlement yesterday. My clients and I both appreciated your respectful and gracious manner. This was the first mediation I handled on my own so I was a little nervous, but you have a very calming presence. I hope to work with you again soon!

Defense Counsel (videoconference)

"I wanted to send you this heart-felt thank you for your work in this matter throughout the mediation process. Your ability to connect with this unique client was wonderful to watch, and you handled every aspect of this mediation with your characteristic expertise and grace. This also allowed me to overcome my luddite-based reluctance to use the videoconference method for mediation purposes. With this reluctance gone, I'm sure we'll get the chance to connect again in this kind of process soon.

Plaintiff's Counsel (Videoconference)

"Thanks so much, Joan. You were marvelous! I talked to [the VP of HR] this morning and he shared he realized at the end of the process just how masterful you had been in getting the deal done. I told him I couldn't agree more!

Corporate Counsel (Videoconference)

"You did a masterful job and I am grateful for all the great hand-holding you did for [my client] and the bolstering you did for me to give me good control over her in a way that allowed me to do what was best for her. She could not have lasted through the protracted fight and I really think it is not an understatement to say that you helped save a life."

Plaintiff's Counsel

"I want to thank you again for all of your hard work on our case. It was one of a kind and your work was truly amazing. It was great to finally work with you and I hope to do it again in the future. Many thanks!

Defense Counsel (Videoconference)

"All our clients . . . were very happy with the results (multi-plaintiff age collective action.). You hung in there to make it happen, and I for one am very grateful. . .[My partner] considers your speech on the second morning of mediation to our clients to be the best he had ever heard from a mediator. It clearly made a difference in where the plaintiffs were willing to end up and the alacrity with which they found their way to the finish line."

Plaintiffs' Class Counsel

"Thank you for your time and efforts to help [our company] resolve this litigation in the mediation process. I sincerely believe it was because of your efforts that we arrived at a settlement and I am grateful for the role you played."

Human Resources Dir. (Videoconference)

"Your efforts in resolving our case were pivotal. In the many mediations I have done over the years I often thought that if the right stuff was there to settle the case it would, regardless of the mediator. That certainly was not the case in this one. You kept both sides on track and heading toward the goal. Indeed, you were poetry in motion! Thanks!

General Counsel (videoconference)

"Thank you for the outstanding work you did to help resolve our case. I was very surprised that the case settled and can only attribute it to your exceptional negotiation skills, professionalism and hard work (even over the holidays!). It was a pleasure to work with you. Thanks for your excellence."

Plaintiff's Counsel (videoconference)

"Thank you for all your efforts. You are a very talented and trustworthy expert mediator."

Defense Counsel

"Thank you very much for your considerable patience, professionalism, grace and overall good common sense in guiding our mediation to a successful conclusion for all sides. My clients are very happy."

Plaintiffs' Attorney

"Thank you again for helping us to reach a settlement. In truth, I had already given up and would have given up had it not been for your great skill and gentle yet determined perseverance with a compassionate heart. . . . You have definitely made a difference in my life!"

Plaintiff

"Since the mediation I have been wanting to let you know that I appreciate you and the fine work you did understanding the underlying principles I stand for and the moral issues involved, well beyond the purely legal rights and responsibilities. You've helped me experience so much more healing.

Plaintiff

References

"Joan Morrow has a demeanor which is ideally suited to effective mediation. She is always respectful and calm. Moreover, she has a true gift for listening carefully and well while not losing the focus of the mediation or her leadership role in moving the parties toward resolution.
     Second, Joan is a true advocate for settlement. I have watched her many times keep parties moving toward potential resolution when they had almost completely lost momentum. And she does so without a hint of bullying or inserting herself or her own views into the equation.
     Third, Joan is always prepared. She makes sure that she has a solid grounding in the facts and the law before mediation and this is frequently invaluable to successful resolution. I have seen her use her knowledge of the case and the applicable law to gently but effectively challenge the participant's positions so that they are able to see vulnerabilities in their case that they had not fully appreciated. She plays "devil's advocate" more effectively than any other mediator with whom I have worked.
     Lastly, as counsel to both individual plaintiffs and corporate defendants, I have had a first hand opportunity to see just how unbiased Joan is throughout mediation. Her approach, demeanor, and tactics are balanced, respectful, successful and fair regardless of the participant's side of the dispute.
     In summary, Joan is one of the finest mediators I know."

Susan M. Robiner
Formerly with Leonard, Street & Deinard, Minneapolis,
now State District Court Judge

"Joan Morrow is an extremely talented mediator who has relocated from Minnesota to Williamsburg, Virginia and Washington, D.C.. Joan is without doubt the best mediator with whom I have ever worked. She enjoyed an outstanding reputation among both the defense and plaintiff's bar in Minnesota, who, though they at times seemed to agree on little else, always agreed that Joan was a good choice to mediate their cases. Joan works hard at the cases she mediates, is very knowledgeable about employment, achieves a very good success rate, and leaves the parties with good feelings about the process and the result. She is also extremely trustworthy with respect to maintaining confidences."

Daniel G. Wilczek
Faegre & Benson LLP
Minneapolis

"Joan Morrow's very high settlement rate in cases involving my clients has been no easy task...My clients are emotionally needy and believe they have been hurt very badly by their respective experiences...Without exception, each of my clients has left the mediation of their case feeling relieved and reconciled. This, in my view, is a direct result of Joan's strong skills at listening and understanding people. . . . Simply put, Joan is the best mediator with whom I have worked."

James H. Kaster
Nichols Kaster, PLLP
Minneapolis

"I found Joan to be a very skilled mediator. She is extremely thorough, honest, candid and strong...I would unqualifiedly recommend Joan Morrow as a mediator to any party...who is seriously interested in achieving a fast and fair settlement."

Robert M. Mattison
Former Vice President, General
Counsel and Secretary
GRACO INC.

"Joan Morrow is always my first choice as a mediator in employment matters because of her knowledge of the law, her previous experience as an employment litigator, her patience, her persistence, her professionalism, her consideration, and her skill at helping the parties reach settlement."

Douglas R. Christensen
Dorsey & Whitney
Minneapolis

I can say without hesitation that Joan Morrow is the dean of mediators in Minnesota... and that she enjoys a reputation second to none.
     My own litigation specialty over the past decade has been consumer protection class actions...I have had seven or eight very large class actions settled through mediation, all of them using a model developed by Joan in connection with three Minnesota class actions in which she acted as mediator. Her effective strategy was to become fully involved in the case long before actual dollar figures were exchanged... It was during the sessions on discovery and production of information that Joan did her most important work in these cases, meeting with counsel again and again and often meeting with the technical personnel for each side. I exported Joan's model to similar cases in other states using other mediators with great success.
     Joan is patient, she is pleasant, she is methodical, and she is determined. Her determination, however, never results in an overbearing or dictatorial manner; she simply refuses to allow the parties to declare defeat until every conceivable procedural and negotiating technique has been attempted. Joan's great strength as a mediator is in spending the time necessary to "invest" both sides in the process itself, so that a failure of the mediation becomes a failure of each party. Exactly how she does this is hard to say, but I have seen her do it with some very difficult and recalcitrant lawyers and parties.
     The bottom line, of course: Joan gets results.

Wood R. Foster, Jr.
Siegel, Brill, P.A.
Minneapolis

"A very accomplished litigator before she became a full-time ADR professional, Joan Morrow understands complex litigation. 
     Joan Morrow has an extraordinary ability to imbue and maintain a strong commitment from the mediating parties to stay on track and stick with their central objective of resolving the matter, no matter how difficult the issues, how great the gap between the parties, or how intense the emotions of counsel and their clients. Rather than pressuring or brow-beating the parties, which I've never observed from Joan, she engages in a powerful preaching and conversion, which persuades the parties to 'keep the faith' that by sticking with the process through the rough spots, the common objective of resolution will be reached."

Seymour J. Mansfield
Foley and Mansfield
Minneapolis

In my experience, no one is better or more successful at mediation than Joan Morrow.
     While a practicing lawyer, I have used Mrs. Morrow as a mediator on three complicated, contentious cases which I thought unlikely to settle...All of the cases involved multiple or class plaintiffs against large corporate defendants, including insurance companies, with millions of dollars at stake.
   Mrs. Morrow is excellent at controlling the parties and their counsel; at determining the respective ranges of settlement by the parties and if necessary, at getting the parties to move off that range to a different level of commitment.
     In one recent case, under extreme time pressure, Mrs. Morrow got up to speed on the factual background of the case, as well as the legal nuances and arguments raised by the parties. Because of her hard work, intelligence, and skill, she facilitated the mediation process by effective communication of the strengths and weaknesses of each side's case. Our client, a very sophisticated multi-national conglomerate, was especially impressed by her skill.

Thomas M. Sipkins
Formerly with Halleland Lewis Nilan Sipkins & Johnson
Minneapolis
now State District Court Judge

"My office used Joan Morrow as a mediator on numerous cases for many years. Our attorneys and clients have found her to be every effective. I can highly recommend her for any case which calls for a skilled and experienced mediator. . . . Ms. Morrow has been widely and properly regarded as one of the top mediators in the State of Minnesota."

Donald E. Horton
Minneapolis

"I have rarely had the pleasure of meeting any individual who brought such exquisite skill, intelligence, grace and eloquence to the settlement process. You single handedly took a highly contentious sexual harassment class action, and in two days, managed to defuse to years of tension and strained relations between the parties.
     Your approach with class members was outstanding, giving each a chance to ventilate their feelings and equally impressive, adroitly channeling the catharsis which you achieved into a complicated settlement that all sides considered to be fair and reasonable."

Lloyd B. Zimmerman
Former Senior Trial Attorney
EEOC, Minneapolis Area Office,
now Retired State District Court Judge