Robert Smith



Mediation, as currently practiced, is a relatively recent process, sometimes not fully understood. It is an approach that is particularly beneficial to those who desire an on-going relationship that will outlive the current dispute. It can provide emotional, as well, as economic resolution that permits progress in commercial relationships. The mediator can provide a mirror of reality, and can fairly quickly determine whether the matter can be resolved. Its advantages include being: private, confidential, voluntary, relatively inexpensive, informal, flexible, and providing scope for imagination.

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the mediation difference

Facilitated negotiations and deal-making
Mr. Smith offers commercial mediation. He is available to help you and your possible partner, investor, lender, acquirer, acquired entity put the deal together. We hope you can do this with a lot less friction than might result from classic head-to-head negotiations, however skilled the negotiations, because we try to serve as an intermediary who facilitates the results you both wish, if they are possible; we try to help you make them happen. This is our mediated “deal-making” function. It means, among other things, that you may avoid post-deal friction and make the resulting deal work better.

Then, if there is a deal, Mr. Smith remains available to try to nip any problems you might have in the bud before they become so troublesome that they result in litigation. In this role — called “partnering” in the construction context — you may each appoint a “trouble-shooter” to work with Mr. Smith to resolve quickly these problems as they arise.

Conflict Resolution
There is also classic mediation– that is, dispute resolution when full-blown issues and problems have unhappily developed.

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expertise and experience

Mr. Smith’s style may be different.

Because Mr. Smith spent years as a correspondent for The New York Times, a favored technique is listening with care before providing any guidance and inter-party communication that may be desired.

He wrote an 1200-page treatise entitled Alternative Dispute Resolution for Financial Institutions.

Corporate Respect
Mr. Smith supervised financial dispute litigation overseas, worldwide, for the Bank of America.

Professional Respect
He is respected in the field. Mr. Smith was, for example, President of The Mediation Society and was on the Northern California Advisory Council to the American Arbitration Association.  He is the author of numerous articles, both technical and popular, on alternative dispute resolution topics.

Business Sense
Mr. Smith brings to the negotiations the practical sense and understanding of someone who successfully built and ran his own enterprise.

Government Experience
Additionally, Mr. Smith brings experience at a high-level in the American Government, in the Carter Administration. He was both Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the US and chief spokesperson for the Department of Justice. He was a member of the American Delegation at the World Court in United States v. Iran.

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transnational disputes

Mr. Smith is well-suited for the resolution of transnational disputes.

He was Director of mediation at CEDR in London, and has lectured worldwide.

He has mediated in Belgium and in Germany, in addition to the U.K. and the U.S. He has lectured on mediation, for example, in Nairobi, Warsaw, Singapore, Ireland, and France.

He is a Chartered Arbitrator in England and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is also on the Institute’s Mediation Panel in London.

He has served as a Médiateur Agréé on the panel of the Centre de Médiation et d’Arbitrage de Paris (CMAP). He spent a year and a half in France (where he represented a Japanese-owned bank); speaks fluent French; is a Barrister of the Inner Temple in England; was an intern in economic development with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tübingen, Germany; studied at the Centro de Estudios de Español in Barcelona; and traveled constantly for a year and a half worldwide, working in dozens of legal systems as Senior Litigation Counsel for the Bank of America.

Mr. Smith has lectured at Oxford University and at the UN’s International Labor Organization in Turin, Italy.

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silicon valley

Silicon Valley is a welcome venue for Mr. Smith. He appreciates the practical bottom-line orientation of people who want to make a deal.  He enjoys helping them try to get it done without wasting time and money and diverting management focus from other matters.

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