Jerome F. Rock
Arbitration & Mediation
Practice Limited to Business, Technology & Construction Industry Disputes
Mediation for Business Disputes Prior to filing suit.
Ready to Host Zoom on-line video conferencing.
Mediation for Business Disputes after filing suit, but before extensive Discovery
A Hybrid process of Mediation first, followed by Arbitration of remaining unresolved issues. Or reverse the order, starting with Arbitration and migrating to Mediation.
Mediation for Business Disputes with the benefit of Pre-Trial Discovery.
Providing Zoom on-line video conferencing
VISION & Approach to ADR
My practice is limited to Arbitration and Mediation of Business, Technology and Construction Industry disputes. As an engineer, business and construction lawyer and former chief executive of an IT based company, I bring insight and strong subject matter qualifications to the Practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution. This experience permits me to quickly grasp complex factual situations, to efficiently identify and organize the barriers to resolution, and propose alternative strategies that lead to settlement. I am by nature a problem solver, and assert a leadership role in designing and executing Best Practices for both Arbitration and Mediation.
I have been certified as a Mediator since 2002, and have served as Mediator and Arbitrator in over 1000 cases. Through this experience, I have developed what I consider to be a Best Practice that I refer to as "PreMediation", a series of informal Pre-Hearing conferences where I meet separately with each side, including the principals, well before the scheduled Mediation Hearing. Mediating with ZOOM video conferencing makes the Pre-Hearing Conferences travel free, while expanding the geographic scope of my Mediation practice.
If begun early, at the initial stages of the dispute, many more options and choices are available to both the parties, and their counsel, and as a result, I refer to "PreMediation" as the Gateway to Outstanding Results.
During the course of these sessions, which typically last several hours, I develop an understanding of the claim or defense, the legal standards, the documentation or evidence that will be available as the result of Initial Disclosures, other likely information that may become available at the time of Mediation, as well as the business, negotiating and settlement objectives of the parties. As a result, I develop a sense of the barriers to settlement, as well as the opportunities for structuring business solutions, and exchange much of this information with the parties in such a way that confidential information is always respected.
With the Pre-Hearing conferences as a foundation, I can then focus issues, and identify gaps in the necessary information that is interfering with good faith negotiation. This is particularly important in Pre-Litigation and Early Case Mediation when there has been little formal discovery. When appropriate, I act as a Discovery Mediator, and often suggest staged or targeted discovery of key issues.
Based on my understanding of the complexity of the matter, I have suggested Multi-Stage Hearings, where the first session is designed for information exchange and discussion in a conference room setting among the technical or project staffs for both parties, that I refer to as a "Working Session", which can also be conducted by video conference. My ground rules for the Working Session remove the immediate pressure of having to make a decision on settlement, and present the opportunity for cooperative exchange of information. The follow-on sessions can deal in depth with issues presented during the Working Session, and ultimately, the final stage is reserved for the executives, who complete the negotiation and compromise having the benefit of the extensive technical interaction. I am often pleasantly rewarded after the Working Session when the principals suggest that they meet privately, one on one (sometimes with the Mediator) to negotiate the terms of settlement.
When technical or factual issues can benefit from experts, I've found it effective to suggest that the parties share the cost of a jointly retained expert to be used For Mediation Purposes Only. I have assisted in identifying and selecting the expert, working on an agreed scope of the investigation and using this as the foundation for negotiation during the Mediation Process.
In addition to being a problem solver, and being an advocate for thinking outside the box, I consider myself to be relentlessly persistent, and find this attitude provides the essential ingredient linking strategy with results. I have provided a number of Case Studies in this website that illustrate my approach to challenging situations.s
I am the Chapter Author of "Negotiation and Settlement" for the Institute for Continuing Legal Education treatise on Michigan Civil Procedure and have developed into a strong and experienced proponent of interest based negotiation. When practical, I explore factors such as existing or prospective business relations and the chance to resolve disputes that may be outside the scope of the current litigation, referred to as “expanding the boundaries” of the settlement discussions. Click below for a more detailed discussion on PreMediation: The Gateway to Extraordinary Results and the Opportunity to Structure Business Solutions. I have also provided a 2 minute video of my approach to mediation, presented on the AAAMediation.org website.
Side Note: For those familiar with mediation and negotiation theory, you may note that my approach and strategy is largely influenced by the research of James A. Lax and James Sebenius and the Harvard Program on Negotiation, particularly "3-D Negotiation: Powerful Tools to Change the Game in Your Most Important Deals". A short description of the three dimensions necessary for successful mediation is presented in my Checklist of ADR Strategies in the White Paper section of this website. Another important contribution to my practice is based on "Challenging Conflict: Mediation Through Understanding" by Gary Friedman and Jack Himmelstein. This concept was used to develop the "Working Session" under the Two-Stage approach to the Mediation Hearing.
Jerome F. Rock
Jerome Rock is on the panel of Mediators and Arbitrators for the American Arbitration Association for its Commercial, Construction, and Large Complex cases. He also serves on the Panel of Arbitrators for the National Center for Dispute Settlement, and is available as a Private Arbitrator.
Mr. Rock is an advocate for the use of Video Conferencing for both Mediation and Arbitration Hearings, and is a ZOOM Professional Host.
Mr. Rock is also on the panel of civil mediators for the Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, and Washtenaw County Circuit Courts, as well as the roster of approved ADR Neutrals for the Business Court for the Third and Sixteenth Judicial Circuits. Mr. Rock focuses on Business Court cases , particularly where there is an opportunity to engage in Early Case Mediation and enhanced multi stage facilitation for complex cases. His approach to Mediation relies on Interest Based Negotiation principles and he often schedules Pre-Mediation sessions with each party prior to the formal Mediation Hearing as a strategy to greatly improve the quality of the outcomes.
He has served as court-appointed mediator and special master in federal and state courts and acts as a facilitator of negotiations for complex business transactions. Mr. Rock has been a construction and business lawyer, a chief executive of a high tech engineering firm, and has degrees in both mechanical and civil engineering as well as law. Mr. Rock has been a licensed residential builder, a LEED accredited professional by the US Green Building Council, a former adjunct lecturer in engineering and construction law. He is a member of the Engineering Society of Detroit and served on the board of directors of the Michigan chapter of the Design-Build Institute of America. Mr. Rock is also a member of the Professional Resolution Experts of Michigan (PREMi) and an instructor for the SCAO-approved advanced mediation course on Med-Arb.
He is the Chapter Author for Settlement & Negotiation for Michigan Civil Procedure, the comprehensive treatise published by the Institute for Continuing Legal Education. His focus on academic research has a strong practical application that brings additional sophistication to the negotiation and settlement process. He encourages creative discussion at the Pre-Hearing phase and is a strong, positive force in the Mediation Hearing. He is a pragmatic problem solver in helping plaintiff or defense counsel deal with complicated situations and difficult clients.
Mr. Rock has earned the Martindale Hubbell Peer Review Rating of Preeminent, is rated as a SuperLawyer by Thompson Reuters, and Top Lawyer by Detroit Business and Hour Detroit.
The link above to the AAAMediation.org site provides additional detail on my experience and qualifications, as well as a video clip of my PreMediation Best Practice. There is also a link to references, sorted by major case types. Please contact me if you have any questions.
Jerome F. Rock, Esq.
Arbitration & Mediation
745 Grand Marais
Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
Professional Resolution Experts of Michigan (PREMi).
If you are interested in arranging for a telephone call to discuss my availability to serve as an Arbitrator or Mediator, or if you are attempting to identify a convenient date for a Hearing, please complete the information below. I'll respond promptly.