It is extremely important to emphasize how arbitration and mediation do serve the administration of justice ("Is Justice Served?" by Eric Berkowitz, Oct. 22). I have been a member of the California bar since 1955, a former assistant United States attorney and an active arbitrator and mediator since 1969. In 1990, I decided to become a full-time "neutral." Many people who make this choice do so not to "desert" the private practice or the bench but to provide a much-needed alternative.
It should be noted that very few alternative dispute resolution professionals are compensated anywhere close to $1 million per year. It is absolutely fallacious to suggest that most ADR professionals do not focus on a fair and just decision.
The vast majority of cases meet the standards that the public and the system of justice demand. There are evils to be addressed, just as there are in the court system. However, the ADR field is absolutely necessary in order to speedily and properly carry out the administration of civil justice today.
Robert M. Shafton
I have been a lawyer in L.A. County for 27 years and worked in the Superior Court for three years prior to that. I have personally seen the total quagmire that exists in the family law and probate calendar, and I have given my clients the opportunity to hire a private judge. The ones who can borrow money or charge the fees are grateful to end the nightmare of ongoing litigation. The ones who can't must "wait it out."