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A fulltime mediator and arbitrator with over 20 years of experience as a neutral, Ben Picker has successfully resolved several hundred domestic and international disputes with a cumulative value of several billion dollars. He has served as a mediator in complex business disputes in the following areas: corporate and commercial transactions, asset/stock purchase agreements, securities, employment, environmental, ERISA, intellectual property, health care, real estate, products liability, bankruptcy, construction, class actions, professional liability, and shareholder and partnership disputes. Mr. Picker is currently Senior Counsel at the law firm of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP where he chaired the firm's ADR Practice Group for over 10 years. In 2007, Stradley Ronon's ADR Practice Group received the First Annual Award for Excellence in ADR from the CPR Institute. Mr. Picker is a member of the Panel of Distinguished Neutrals and the Employment Panel of the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution; a member of the Commercial Mediation, Arbitration and National Class Action Panels of the American Arbitration Association; and a fellow of both the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and the International Academy of Mediators. He is the author of Mediation Practice Guide - A Handbook for Resolving Business Disputes (Second Edition) published in 2003 by the American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution, and has written numerous book chapters and articles and lectured widely on mediation, negotiations and arbitration. Mr. Picker was named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer® (and one of the “Top 100 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers”) by a vote of his peers each year from 2004-2009. He was also selected to be included in the 2005-2010 editions of The Best Lawyers in America, regarded as a definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States, as well as the 2007-2009 editions of Chambers USA.
Has served as mediator in numerous complex business disputes including multi-party disputes and class actions, following representative cases: dispute between two healthcare institutions involving alleged breaches of affiliation agreement (mediation resolved dispute and also permitted parties to dissolve a joint medical practice); dispute arising out of employment termination of key executives of public company; alleged breach of asset purchase and continuing supply agreements; nine figure claim by trustee in a bankruptcy against multiple parties involving claims of breaches of fiduciary duties, fraud and equitable subordination; claim by manufacturing company against manufacturer of component parts which were recalled worldwide; dispute arising out of purchase of computer software licenses alleging fraud, breach of warranties and breach of contract; nine figure claim against numerous insurance companies from North America and Europe for insurance coverage by owners of satellite which exploded in space; numerous claims against accounting firms in connection with audits (including claims for breaches of fiduciary duties and violations of GAAP and GAAS); claims by minority shareholders of corporation against majority shareholders for breaches of fiduciary duties and "minority oppression;" numerous shareholder, partnership and real estate disputes involving competing arguments on valuation issues; claims by limited partners in real estate investments against general partner for misallocation of profits from pooled sale of properties; claims by purchaser of securitized pools of sub-prime mortgages against originator for breach of loan originating guidelines; and claim against national law firm for damages arising from alleged conflicts of interest and failure to disclose certain relationships. Many of these mediations involved multiple days and some required continuing involvement at conclusion of mediation sessions.
I believe that mediation, in one word, presents an “opportunity” to parties in a dispute to solve their problem. In order to take advantage of this opportunity, preparation is key. I begin my work with parties and counsel by asking them what they expect of me and then affirmatively explore important issues such as any need for exchanged submissions, the substance of ex parte submissions which permit me to identify the underlying issues, the identity of the participants and issues of authority. I believe that while the parties should own the outcome in any dispute, they are looking for my leadership on issues of process. With regard to the "facilitative-evaluation" debate, I find most parties want and deserve appropriate “reality testing.” In the final analysis, while parties may tell me what they want, what they need, what is fair, what is right, what is true (all of which is fair comment), I will urge parties to listen respectfully, make good assessments and make responsible decisions. In my view, the benchmark for a responsible decision is comparing what can be accomplished in mediation with the consequences if the parties fail to achieve a settlement. My approach, however, will be different in each next case depending upon the positions, the people and the problem. In addition to the “litigation-risk” analysis, virtually every settlement decision is also driven by some other interest, need, agenda item or problem in the background. I make every effort to take a multi-dimensional view of a dispute, looking beyond the differing views on positions. In addition to exploring the potential for creative solutions, I also explore the existence of potential barriers to resolution such as the relationship between attorney and client or differences among the various representatives of one party. I hope what I bring to the table, in addition to my skill, experience and integrity, are qualities of patience and perseverence. My credo is "never give up".
For over 20 years, Ben Picker has served as a mediator in several hundred domestic and international disputes, mostly complex commercial disputes involving substantial dollars and/or important strategic interests. Served as mediator on multiple occasions in each of the following areas of dispute: corporate and commercial transactions, asset purchase and stock purchase agreements, UCC. securities, intellectual property (patent, trademark, licensing, unfair competition and computer software disputes), bankruptcy, healthcare, real estate, employment (discrimination, harassment, tenure, restrictive covenants and wrongful discharge), environmental, products liability, professional liability (law firms and accounting firms), shareholder and partnership disputes and class actions.
$575 hourly rate for all preparation and travel time. $650 hourly rate outside of the Philadelphia region. Reimbursement of all travel and lodging costs, as incurred.
ADR Certifications and Panels:
- Fellow, American College of Civil Trial Mediators
- Fellow, International Academy of Mediators
- Member, Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution
- CPR Arbitration and Mediation Panels: CPR U.S. - China Trade Panel, CPR National Employment Panel
- Member, Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Panels of American Arbitration Association - AAA Large Complex Case Panel - AAA National Class Action Arbitration Panel - ICDR Mediation Panel (International Centre for Dispute Resolution)
- Member, Mediation Panel of Court of Arbitration for Sport (Lausanne, Switzerland)
- Member, Mediation Panel of World Intellectual Property Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)
- Certified Mediator, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee, American Arbitration Association and former Co-Chair of Association’s National Mediation Committee
- Member, Executive Advisory Committee, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution
- Member, Advisory Council of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution of Pepperdine University School of Law
Lecturer/trainer (ADR, mediation and negotiations) in programs sponsored by American Bar Association ( including numerous lectures and panels at ABA Section's Advanced Mediation Institute and Annual Meetings), Pennsylvania Bar Associations, Practicing Law Institute, Center for Dispute Resolution (United Kingdom), CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, American Arbitration Association, American Corporate Counsel Association, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, American College of Civil Trial Mediators, International Academy of Mediators, Villanova Law School, Temple University Law School and numerous in-house legal departments of corporations throughout the United States.
- Author, Mediation Practice Guide: A Handbook for Resolving Business Disputes (Second Edition), published in 2003 by the American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution
- Author, Guía Práctica Para La Mediación (Spanish Edition of Mediation Practice Guide), published in 2003 by Centro Empresarial de Mediación y Arbitraje (Mediation and Arbitration Center of Buenos Aires)
- Co-author with Jack Foltz (former chair of American Corporate Counsel Association), Chapter on ADR in multi-volume series, Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel, published in Fall 2000 by West Group, Inc. and American Corporate Counsel Association
- Author, Mediation Practice Guide: A Handbook for Resolving Business Disputes (First Edition), published in 1998 by Pike and Fischer, Inc., a subsidiary of the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. and the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution
- “The 10 Most Common Mistakes Made by Mediation Advocates," The Legal Intelligencer (April 19, 2007)
- “Navigating The Mediation Process: Overcoming Invisible Barriers to Resolution,” Dispute Resolution Journal, American Arbitration Association (Vol. 61, No. 3, August-October 2006)
- “Strategies for Successful Mediation,” Alternatives, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (June 2006), transcript of comments at CPR’s Annual Meeting
- “Experts Identify ADR Trends And Best Practices,” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (January 2006)
- “EDR: Make the Investment, Reap the Rewards,” The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (August 2003)
- “How to Best Aid Negotiations by Breaking Down Barriers,” Alternatives, CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (December 2001)
- “Negotiation vs. Litigation," The Philadelphia Business Journal (October 1999)
- Course materials for over 50 presentations on ADR,