Bankruptcy Attorneys Give High Marks to WAWB's Glover Mediation Program in Recent Survey

Release Date: 
Wed, 10/28/2020

The Western District of Washington Bankruptcy Court adopted a set of local rules establishing the Thomas T. Glover Mediation Program in 2012.  The Program offers pro bono and low fee mediation with qualified mediators, most of whom are experienced bankruptcy lawyers.

In July of this year the Executive Committee for the Program conducted its first survey of lawyers practicing bankruptcy law, seeking feedback on, among other things, the role of mediation in bankruptcy, the factors considered in selecting a mediator, and the quality of experience with the Program.  The answers received showed wide approval for the use of mediation in bankruptcy and overwhelming support for the role of the Program in providing an effective low-cost method for finding qualified mediators to help reach resolution of contested matters and adversary proceedings.  The survey answers provided the Executive Committee with valuable feedback.

What follows is a brief summary of highlights of the survey results.

  • 100% of the respondents felt that mediation was generally a good idea, and helpful in representing and advising their clients.
  • 98% of the respondents indicated that the potential benefits of mediation outweigh the costs.
  • 90% of those responding regularly recommend mediation to clients with disputes that are difficult to settle or resolve.
  • 93% of the respondents rated the Program mediators well qualified and effective and appreciated the availability of mediators with bankruptcy experience.
  • A mediator’s skill, areas of expertise, a practitioner’s prior experience with the mediator were among the top considerations when choosing a mediator.
  • Weighing all the factors related to mediator choice, 79% of the respondents indicated they always considered the Glover Program when engaging in mediation of a bankruptcy related matter.
  • 80% rated their own experience with the Program mediators as very or extremely effective.  

The survey responses demonstrated a varied emphasis on how mediation should be conducted with an almost equal number of respondents preferring submitting confidential mediation briefs versus non-confidential briefs.  A similar split appeared regarding a preference on types of opening sessions with about half preferring separate opening sessions and half preferring joints opening sessions.  There was, however, a consensus among respondents that a mediator’s substantive knowledge of the law related to the underlying dispute was the biggest factor in the success of the mediation.

The Program is very grateful to those bankruptcy practitioners who took the time to answer the survey and provide their thoughtful comments.

In addition to the feedback summarized above, the Program received valuable input on ways to increase knowledge and awareness of the Program and meeting the needs of the bar for mediation services.

Based upon the survey, the Executive Committee anticipates developing and implementing several actions to maintain and strengthen the Program and its role in offering an effective alternative for resolution of bankruptcy related disputes.