Association of Attorney-Mediators

Advanced Attorney-Mediator Training

September 15, 2017

Dallas, Texas

Speakers and Panelists



Robert W. Berliner, Jr. is a practicing mediator, arbitrator and attorney and is often retained as an expert witness in real estate, legal malpractice and other matters.  He has also been a principal in many real estate and other business ventures.   He is a member of the AAM Board of Directors and is currently President of the Illinois Chapter of AAM, of which he was also a co-founder.   Mr. Berliner founded and leads a program sponsored by that Chapter that provides pro bono mediation services to the Small Claims Court in Will County, Illinois, which has grown from one to over 20 participating mediators since 2010.  Mr. Berliner frequently presents continuing legal education and other educational programs on mediation, legal and real estate subjects, and has been an adjunct professor at Stuart Graduate School of Business, Illinois Institute of Technology, where he taught real estate investment.     Mr. Berliner began his career with a small Chicago law firm and, after 10 years with that firm, founded his own firm.   Thereafter, he became a senior officer and general counsel of Jupiter Industries, Inc., and a partner and general counsel of Jupiter Realty Corporation.   Jupiter Industries, Inc., was a diversified conglomerate with revenues of over $1 billion and interests in construction and engineering, transportation, retailing, insurance, manufacturing and real estate, and Jupiter Realty Corporation was a real estate company with interests in office buildings, shopping centers, apartment buildings and hotels all over the country.   Mr. Berliner received an A.B. degree from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  He also served as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, where he was Supply Officer on a nuclear-powered Polaris missile submarine, and is currently a member of the Naval War College Foundation.

Paul Clote is a trial and appellate attorney with over 38 years of experience.  He has tried a wide variety of state and federal lawsuits to a verdict.  Those cases involved fiduciary duties; partnership disputes; letters of credit; trust account funds; ERISA disability benefits; broker commissions; child abuse; business fraud and civil theft; minimum wage & overtime laws; oil and gas operating agreements; even an election contest. Believing that parties most often can negotiate their own principled solutions, Paul was trained by AAM in the early 1990’s.  Since then, he has served as mediator in more than 450 mediations, and has taught a mediation class at Rice University as an Adjunct Professor. Paul’s interest in arbitration prompted him to teach an international commercial arbitration class at the National Law Academy of Odessa, Ukraine and at the University of Debrecen (Hungary) School of Law. He has participated in many seminar and panel presentations concerning conflict resolution, grievance issues and legal ethics. Paul is a member of the AAM Board of Directors and serves as President-elect. 

Hal Gillespie a partner of Gillespie Sanford LLP, represents individual clients, corporate executives and unions in arbitration, mediation, civil trials, and appeals involving discharge, discrimination, sexual harassment, and employment matters.  He has tried many major jury trials and arbitration hearings involving employment law, including claims of age discrimination, race and national origin discrimination, tortious interference with contract, defamation, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, disability discrimination, and breach of contract.  In 2011 and again in 2013, Hal was rated as one of the top 10 lawyers in Texas by SuperLawyers.com. He has been rated one of the top 100 Texas Super Lawyers in Texas since 2003.  In 2002, 2007, and 2012 Texas Lawyer listed him as the “Go-To Lawyer” in Texas for the past five years in the area of Labor and Employment Law.  Hal has been named as among the best 500 attorneys in the United States by Lawdragon.com.  Hal is “AV” rated in Martindale-Hubbell. Hal Gillespie is board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Hal is the past Chairman of the Dallas Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section.  He served on the Court Advisory Committee for the Northern District of Texas.  He is past President of the North Texas Chapter of the Industrial Relations Research Association and a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and the Board of Directors of its Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter.  Hal is a co-founding and active member of the Texas Employment Lawyers Association (TELA).  He is a member of the Lawyers Coordinating Committee of the AFL-CIO.  He is a member of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.  He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a Fellow in the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Jim Hartnett has been a lead attorney in many of Texas’s biggest probate and trust cases in counties all over Texas. He has tried many probate and trust cases to verdict and has argued numerous cases in various appellate courts around the state; including, the Texas Supreme Court. In 2002 and 2013, he was selected by Texas Lawyer as Texas’s “Go-To” attorney for trust and estate matters. In 2007, Texas Lawyer named him one of the “Top Notch” lawyers for trusts and estates. He is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America,” and is regularly named a “Super Lawyer” in Texas Monthly, and one of the best lawyers in Dallas by D Magazine. Stepping outside of his usual area, Jim’s jury verdict in Cruciani v. Budd, et al, a 2010 negligent misrepresentation case, is included in The Texas Lawyer’s Verdict Hall of Fame. After graduating from Cistercian Preparatory School, Jim enrolled at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, where he played varsity basketball whilst obtaining a degree in business administration. Upon graduation, he entered the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the State bar in 1983. Jim has been a partner in The Hartnett Law Firm since 1988. He is a member of the Dallas Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas. Jim is a former Barrister in the Patrick Higginbotham American Inn of Court, a past council member of the Dallas Bar Association – Probate and Estate Planning Section, and a fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Jim serves on the Board of Trustees of Austin College. He also received Cistercian Preparatory School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2004.


Dean M. Kilgore is an experienced attorney-mediator practicing in Austin, Texas.  He devotes his time exclusively to mediation and arbitration, and generally handles complex matters involving construction, intellectual property, insurance and commercial disputes, as well as significant tort cases. Kilgore has mediated and arbitrated thousands of matters since establishing his ADR practice in 1995. Kilgore was also a skilled trial lawyer for 20 years prior to 1995. He is a regular speaker at CLE conferences, and believes that a deep understanding of people is the single most important attribute of an advanced mediator.

  David T. López has been active in ADR since 1995, was a JAMS mediation and arbitration panelist and presently is on AAA and ICDR panels.  He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, served as president of the Houston Bar Association ADR Section and has been active in state and national bar groups, including serving as subcommittee chair of the ADR Committee of the ABA Section of Litigation, and editor of an upcoming ABA book on arbitration.  He has been an active litigator since being graduated first in his class at South Texas College of Law in 1971 and still maintains a limited litigation practice of complex and international cases.  He received a journalism degree from The University of Texas, where he was managing editor of the daily student newspaper and editor of the monthly magazine.  Prior to being admitted to the Bar, he was a prize-winning journalist for Texas newspapers and director of public affairs and publications for an international trade union organization which was based in Mexico City and published in Spanish, Portuguese and English.  He has conducted labor negotiations training in Peru and Bolivia and dispute resolution training in Mexico, Panama and Ecuador.


James D. “Jimmy” Lawson has owned his own practice, James D. Lawson, P.C., located in Lakeland (Shelby County), Tennessee since March, 2013.  His law practice emphasizes construction law, construction litigation, insurance defense and issues of insurance coverage, along with alternative dispute resolution services.  Prior to obtaining his license to practice law in Tennessee, he was an associate (1986-1993) and a partner (1993-2008) at Hilburn, Calhoon, Harper, Pruniski & Calhoun, Ltd., in North Little Rock, Arkansas.  After moving to Memphis, he was associated with the Law Offices of William M. Jeter, PLLC, in Memphis, Tennessee (July, 2008-February, 2013). He left the Jeter Firm in 2013 to focus his practice on mediation.  Over his thirty-one (31) year career as an attorney, Jimmy has handled a wide variety of civil cases, representing plaintiffs and defendants, in state and federal courts throughout Arkansas and Tennessee.  He has been associated with Hamlin Dispute Resolution, LLC, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, since May, 2012, and regularly mediates civil cases of all varieties throughout Arkansas and western Tennessee.  In October, 2016, he obtained his certification as a family law mediator in Arkansas and has been mediating in that field as well for the last six months.  He is a frequent speaker on the topic of mediation for the Arkansas Bar Association, the Pulaski County (Arkansas) Bar Association, and the Arkansas Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission, and he has contributed his time to assist with mediation courses that are offered by the University of Arkansas School of Law (Fayetteville, AR) and the Bowen School of Law at UALR (Little Rock, AR).  Jimmy resides in Lakeland, Tennessee with his wife, Vicki.  He has been a member of AAM since 2012.


Debra Leo’s subject matter expertise includes conflict resolution, harassment, accommodation, and other specialized workforce issues.  Her experience in the employment law arena spans over 40 years.  Ms. Leo built and managed EEOC’s mediation program for the states of Alabama, Mississippi and northwest Florida.  She offers in-depth knowledge of laws, regulations and trends that affect the workplace.   Having had the opportunity to examine and analyze a wide array of personnel practices, policies and systems, she brings a vast knowledge of best practices and common pitfalls that affect a wide range of businesses, institutions and industries. With over 20 years of mediation experience, she has resolved over 2,500 disputes with a resolution rate exceeding 90%. Ms. Leo has lectured and trained extensively on employment issues and conflict resolution skills and techniques.  As well as designing and delivering training for EEOC, FBI, Department of Labor, FMCS, and other federal agencies, she has designed and delivered training for private employers, corporations, institutions and entities. Ms. Leo offers services in mediation, arbitration, training and consulting.  Debra currently serves as President on the AAM Board of Directors.


Alan Loewinsohn’s successes — in and out of the courtroom — have earned him accolades from his clients and distinguished members of the legal community throughout the nation. Over the years, Alan has earned a reputation not only for his legal astuteness, but also for his tireless dedication to successfully and aggressively representing the interests of his clients.  As a senior partner in the firm, Alan brings to each case a wealth of experience in both state and federal courts and arbitrations, and has been selected to provide legal services to individuals, partnerships, and corporations of every size successfully representing both plaintiffs and defendants.  Alan’s expertise includes such complex areas of the law as real estate, contracts, partnerships, securities, class actions, oil and gas, construction, sports litigation, insurance, intellectual property, professional liability and fraud disputes, wrongful death and product liability claims, and he has successfully represented clients in both domestic and international arbitrations.  Alan has represented public corporations, privately held business interests and individuals, including high profile celebrities and athletes such as Kenny Rogers, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon. Alan’s efforts have earned both favorable outcomes for his clients and the respect of his peers, as reflected in his impressive list of honors. In 2015, ballots were sent to more than 80,000 lawyers in the state of Texas to name the top Texas Super Lawyers, a Thompson Reuters service.  As a result of that balloting and a blue ribbon panel review, and as in past years, Alan was named in Texas Monthly magazine as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the state of Texas.  Alan was also honored, as in past years, as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Dallas/Fort Worth region.


Linda Michler received her law degree from Duquesne University School of Law.  She is a former practicing attorney who now does only mediations, early neutral evaluations, consulting and arbitrations for cases and claims involving business and financial matters including real estate, employment, lending, shareholder, franchise, and healthcare disputes.  She also has experience with government contracts, franchise disputes, product liability, professional malpractice, commercial/business matters, and bankruptcy disputes.  The principal of Professional Dispute Resolution, she has over 25 years’ experience on ADR matters, serving as an arbitrator, mediator, and early neutral evaluator/consultant.  She serves as a mediator for several organizations, including FINRA, the BBB, the W.D. of PA (district and bankruptcy courts).  In addition to once maintaining an active private law practice, she has served as Assistant District Counsel, Special AUSA with the US Small Business Administration, taught legal courses at Robert Morris University, Duquesne University, Community College of Allegheny County and has been a presenter for several CLE providers including the National Business Institute, and the Allegheny County and Washington County Bar Associations.  She has been in-house counsel for a global data and risk management software company.  Ms. Michler is currently admitted to practice in all Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New York Courts, and the following federal courts:  W.D. Pa., E.D. Pa., M.D. Pa., E.D. N.C., Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Supreme Court.  She is a frequent presenter, having spoken before the ABA, FBA, National Business Institute and numerous other organizations.


Chris Nolland is an attorney-mediator in Dallas, Texas.  Chris’ resume as an attorney shows a distinguished record from his student days forward.  After law school, Chris Nolland served as an appellate law clerk and thereafter practiced law in New York City and Dallas, Texas. He was a partner in a well-known national business litigation firm.  In 1993, Mr. Nolland began his own practice with an emphasis on complex business and commercial disputes, bankruptcy and debtor/creditor related matters and with an additional focus on the development of a mediation/arbitration practice. Since that time, Mr. Nolland has mediated or arbitrated over 1,500 cases and has earned a reputation as the "go to" guy for the resolution of complex disputes.  Over the past 15 years Nolland has established a practice as Special Settlement Counsel, acting as the primary negotiator for one party in a non-neutral role.  Nolland has been engaged as Special Settlement Counsel in over 100 significant matters, primarily business disputes. Special Settlement Counsel activities now account for over 50% of Mr. Nolland’s practice.  Mr. Nolland is an Adjunct Professor of Law at SMU Law School and for the past nineteen years has taught a full semester course on Negotiation to 2nd and 3rd year law students and LLM candidates.  Mentoring younger attorneys has always been one of his greatest satisfactions and he easily connects with younger attorneys and students, and they with him.  He is a frequent speaker at ADR programs and training courses, including AAM’s Advanced Trainings, and has been profiled in legal and business publications. Chris has made an unusually rich and diverse contribution to the ADR movement, to litigants, to his fellow mediators, to students, and to the young attorney-mediators and negotiators who will be serving the public when our generation has retired.  Chris is the recipient of the Steve Brutsche’ Award for 2016.

Joseph H. Paulk brings a unique range of experience – successful trial lawyer, mediator, jury consultant, law school instructor, national author and lecturer – to all his endeavors. As lead trial lawyer in more than 100 jury trials over 20 years, Joe represented both plaintiffs and defendants in all types of disputes. Nineteen years ago, he began to transfer this experience to the emerging field of dispute resolution. Since 1992, Joe has mediated over 3,700 cases in 24 different states, including serving as a Class Action/MDL Settlement Claims Administrator in complex insurance and medical device matters. He has been honored by his peers with a Martindale-Hubbell “AV” Preeminent rating, selected as a SuperLawyer every year since its inception in 2006, listed in the International Who’s Who Legal since 2013, and listed as Band 1 in Chambers & Partners US Law since 2011. His company, Dispute Resolution Consultants, Inc., is the preeminent mediation firm in Oklahoma and the Southwest, with 21 mediators and offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. From 2001-2010, Joe served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Arkansas and University of Tulsa law schools, teaching courses in mediation and negotiation. His articles have been published in law journals at both law schools, and in various national professional publications. At the urging of clients, Joe began offering advocacy consulting services in 2002 through his company Litigation Consultants, LLC. Since its formation, Litigation Consultants has been retained by attorneys and multinational corporations throughout the U.S. Joe’s unique jury consulting work has helped plaintiff attorneys secure judgments and settlements of almost $80 million, and has yielded many successful defense results. Joe remains an active member of the Oklahoma Bar Association, the American Board of Trial Advocates, the American College of Civil Trial Mediators, the American Society of Trial Consultants, the Association of Attorney-Mediators, and various other local and national professional organizations.

Andy Payne is the founding partner of PayneMitchell Law Group. Helping people is what draws Andy to his practice of handling significant personal injury cases. Andy is an experienced and effective trial lawyer. He is double Board Certified — Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and Civil Trial Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Andy has also been inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), which is an invitation only organization limited to the top trial lawyers that also exhibit exemplary character, ethics and professional standards. Fewer than one percent of practicing lawyers hold these distinctions. D Magazine repeatedly selects Andy as one of the “Best Lawyers in Dallas.” Texas Monthly Super Lawyers recognizes Andy as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in both DFW and in the State of Texas. In addition, he has been selected for inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America” and has been named the Lawyer of the Year by that publication. He has also earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating (AV) through a peer review evaluation. Andy also has a deep commitment to pro bono representation. His firm has been a cornerstone donor to Equal Access to Justice Campaigns over the last decade. Andy graduated at the top of his class from Baylor Law School, where he served as Executive Editor of the Baylor Law Review. Andy serves on the State Bar Pattern Jury Charge Committee, which drafts form jury charges in products liability cases used by all trial courts in the State of Texas. He also serves on the State Bar Grievance Committee and has chaired Personal Injury seminars for both the State Bar and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. An Adjunct Professor of Products Liability at the SMU Dedman School of Law, Andy is a frequent lecturer at professional meetings both in Texas and nationally. Andy is a Director Emeritus of the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation and the Dallas Bar Foundation, and a member of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics & Professionalism. He is a Fellowship Member and on the Board of Directors for the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and has served on both the Texas Bar Association and Dallas Bar Association Board of Directors. He is also a member of the American Association for Justice’s Leader’s Forum.


Gloria Portela is Senior Counsel in the Houston office of Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, specializing in the mediation of employment cases, especially complex class actions, wage and hour cases and ERISA litigation. Her practice also includes mediating intellectual property and commercial cases.  She is the founding partner of the office, and formerly served as its managing partner. Ms. Portela is a director of St. Luke’s Health System; the Association of Attorney Mediators; and Houston Grand Opera.  She also serves on the Community Foundation Council of the Greater Houston Community Foundation and on the Governing Council of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.  She is a past Governor of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, where she was elected a founding fellow in 1996. From 2002-2010, she was a director of Browne & Co., Inc. (BNE-NYSE - the oldest company then listed on the NYSE) where she served on the Compensation and Management Committee; the Finance Committee, and the CEO Search Committee. Ms. Portela has lectured and published numerous articles including “Let’s Make A Deal” Texas Lawyer, (1997) and “Mediating Employment Disputes,” Just Resolutions (1999).  She also co-authored the chapter “Employment and Labor Disputes” in the book Alternative Dispute Resolution: The Litigator’s Handbook, published by the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section. A native of Havana, Cuba, Ms. Portela came to the United States in 1961 and is completely bilingual in Spanish and English.


Judge Elizabeth Ray has spent the last 39 years gaining a broad range of experience in civil litigation -- 14 years as a trial lawyer, 22 years as a District Court judge, 2 years as a General Counsel of a global water desalination company and the remainder as an arbitrator/mediator/trial specialist. She is Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial law and is a member of ABOTA. Judge Ray is an experienced arbitrator,  having performed over 25 +/- arbitrations,  and mediated over 200 disputes.  She was trained and certified as a mediator in 1991. She also serves as a trial specialist, advising attorneys in high-stakes civil litigation with a specialty in complex commercial cases and international  litigation.  She has recently been accepted into the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a member of several other mediation organizations. Judge Ray was named Trial Judge of the Year by the Texas Board of Trial and Appellate  Specialists and also selected as one of ten Women on the Move by the Texas Executive  Women. She was elected twice by her 58 judicial peers to be their Administrative Judge, the first female to hold that position.


A. Martin Wickliff, Jr.  is board certified in Labor and Employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and he has substantial experience handling cases in such diverse industries as airline, banking, chemical, clothing, construction, energy, entertainment, financial services, grocery, health care, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, railroad, restaurant, retail, sales, transportation, waste disposal, and wholesale.  Marty is a veteran litigator and trial lawyer in all phases of labor and employment law, including advice and counsel, trials, appeals, and administrative proceedings involving all types of discrimination matters and nondisclosure/nonsolicitation disputes, trade secrets, Sarbanes-Oxley and other whistleblower actions, higher education, defamation, privacy claims, FMLA, and WARN, as well as wage and hour litigation. Marty's trial and appellate experiences also include all types of traditional labor disputes, including union elections and injunction matters before the National Labor Relations Board, labor arbitrations, collective bargaining, and mediations as well as matters before the OFCCP and OSHA. He has also been involved in the implementation and monitoring of compliance and prevention programs, including HR audits, training, and internal investigations. Marty is a member of the Houston chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Marty has received training from the American Arbitration Association as an Arbitrator and Mediator, focusing on labor and employment and disputes. He also handles employment investigations. Marty has regularly spoken on a variety of labor and employment topics on behalf of continuing legal education providers, he has authored several articles, and he has authored the employment law chapter of Texas Business Litigation (2014-2017). He has served on the board of directors of the State Bar of Texas (1986-1990) and on the board of trustees and Chair of the State Bar of Texas Insurance Trust; he is also a former director and Chair of the Board of Regents, Texas Southern University of Houston and Chair of the Litigation and Human Resources Committee of the Board; and he is a former member of the board of directors, University of St. Thomas, Houston.  Marty has also served as president of the Houston Lawyers Association, as well as boards of various civic and community associations in Texas.


Daniel Yamshon is a mediator and arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association’s construction, commercial and large, complex case panels as well as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. He has been a mediator for the Resolution Trust Corporation and the Defense Department Office of Hearings and Appeals.  He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London and is the former International Subcommittee Chair of the California Bar Association ADR Committee. Daniel sits on the ABA ADR Section’s Ethics and International committees and on the International Law Section’s Arbitration Committee.   He holds a post-grad certificate in International Arbitration from Columbia Law School and a Diploma, (the UK & European equivalent of a Master’s Degree) in International Arbitration from the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.  Daniel speaks regularly on ADR topics at ABA and California Bar annual meetings.  He has published approximately thirty articles relating to law and ADR in trade, industry and legal journals ranging from Barron’s National Business and Financial Weekly to the Harvard Negotiation Law Review.  Daniel authored the chapter Drafting the ADR Clause in the ABA Construction Industry Forum’s  book Construction ADR and a chapter in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Peace-building in Africa, published by Cambridge Scholars.  He is the lead trainer for the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution, has worked on ADR matters in twelve countries on five continents, and has been the lead on programs funded by the US State Department, the US Institute for Peace, the ABA, and the Eurasia Foundation.

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