Posted on Oct 27, 2020 |News


“I do think that a joint session, even a brief one, is valuable. A lot of times people just do not like to meet face to face; they tend to hide emails and text messages. There's an art to communicating.”

Honorable John. P. DiBlasi, J.S.C. (Ret.)


New York, NY (October 27, 2020) – NAM neutral, Honorable John P. DiBlasi along with three other prominent mediators from across the country, was interviewed to discuss the plusses and minuses of opening or plenary sessions among parties. The discussion was recently conducted by the Daily Report in an article entitled Mediators Talk ‘East v. West' Split Over Use of Opening Sessions to Lay Out Disputes.

Hon. John P. DiBlasi, J.S.C. Hearing Officer for NAM (National Arbitration and Mediation) with name written under picture

In the article, Judge DiBlasi was joined by mediators Terrance Croft (Atlanta) and James Ware (San Francisco) of JAMS and Stew Cogan, an arbitrator/mediator (Seattle) and former president of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators – all with differing opinions and at odds about benefits of plenary sessions.

All four mediators held differing points of view on whether to eschew a joint session. One West Coast mediator felt lawyers “misused the opportunity to educate and instead use it to aggravate and threaten”, while another discontinued the practice altogether because it devolved into the lawyers showing “charts and graphs and rant and rave and pound on the table.”

Judge DiBlasi expressed a contrary point of view and holds that the opening session does serve a useful purpose. He states, “I do think it's important that people introduce themselves, but it also serves a secondary purpose: By going into a joint session you're able to ascertain who is present. I've had mediations where someone would say, ‘Who's that person in the back corner'? From a tactical standpoint, even though I've already read the materials, I like to have everyone in the room to make sure I understand their positions.” Judge DiBlasi agrees that opening sessions can “descend to a bad place”, but explains that “If, 10 minutes into the session, it seems like it's going south, I tell them, – in a nice way – that I'm going to dispense with it. Do I have to do that frequently? No, most people are respectful to me and to the process.”

To read the full Daily Report article click here.

About NAM's neutral

Hon. John P. DiBlasi is the former presiding Justice of the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. During his illustrious career, he has arbitrated and mediated over 3,000 cases with an ADR practice that centers on resolving Commercial, International, Finance, Employment, Entertainment, Land Use, and Professional Malpractice matters. In 2020, Judge DiBlasi was ranked a Top Three Mediator in the United States by The National Law Journal Annual Best of Survey for the seventh straight year (#1, 4 years in a row). He was also voted the #1 Mediator in the country by the 2019 Corporate Counsel Best of Survey for the second year in a row and for the third straight year, was named a National Law Journal Alternative Dispute Resolution Champion, as part of a select group of only 46 nationwide. Further, for the eleventh consecutive year, he was voted a Top Ten Mediator in the 2020 New York Law Journal Annual Best of Survey.   Judge DiBlasi has consistently been designated a Super Lawyer and holds an AV Preeminent Peer Rating from Martindale-Hubbell in both Alternative Dispute Resolution and Litigation – a distinction given only to those who possess the highest ethical standards and professional ability.

Meet Hon. John P. DiBlasi, J.S.C. (Ret.)