McCammon Assembles Mediation All-Stars
By Christine Wright, Legal Editor
Virginina Lawyers Weekly, June 12, 1995
If there is a recipe for success in the mediation business, a firm that opened its doors for business today in Richmond may have found it.
The McCammon Mediation Group Ltd. has assembled the right ingredients with a cast of legal stars in the mediation field in Virginia.
Seven well-known lawyers have joined the McCammon Group. They include a former U.S. senator, a former judge and the drafter of Virginia’s statute on alternative dispute resolution.
The firm plans to offer mediation and arbitration to cover the entire spectrum of civil disputes from commercial and employment conflicts to health care, domestic relations and personal-injury disputes.
It will offer mediation services across the state and also may offer them outside of Virginia.
The firm’s founder is John B. McCammon, a lawyer in Richmond who formerly was with Wright, Robinson, McCammon, Osthimer & Tatum, a Richmond-based firm with over 70 lawyers nationwide. During his legal career, McCammon handled commercial and construction litigation, as well as products-liability and health-care work.
ADR is a “huge phenomenon that is in an embryonic stage in Virginia,” said McCammon. Because the industry is more mature in other states, Virginians can learn from the experiences of others, he added.
ADR is “good for lawyers, good for courts and good for clients,” he said.
McCammon admitted that some skeptical lawyers may view ADR as taking away their business. In response, he said: Those lawyers should realize that “when you take care of your clients by providing more choices, you will benefit in the long run. Lawyers who have that perspective will not only grow professionally, but they will prosper economically.”
The aspect of ADR with the most dramatic potential for growth is mediation, he said.
Mediation differs from arbitration in that the result is not binding until the parties reach an agreement, he explained. “That freedom is powerful in assisting them in reaching a resolution,” said McCammon.
“Of course the result of mediation is binding because it becomes a contract,” he said.
The parties gain the advantage of full participation in the discussion; instead of having to take the witness stand and simply answer questions, then subject themselves to cross-examination, he said.
Plus, they get a resolution that is faster, less expensive and more confidential than traditional litigation, McCammon said.
He emphasized, though, that mediation will not replace litigation, but will supplement it. As to his new colleagues at the firm, McCammon said he scoured the state for those people with “utmost integrity and personal skills and temperament to facilitate negotiation.” He added, “I am delighted to be associated with each of them.”
The star-studded cast at the new firm includes the Honorable William B. Spong Jr., who is a former U.S. senator, a former member of Virginia’s General Assembly and the former dean of the law school at William and Mary.
Spong also is the former president of Old Dominion University and a past president of the Virginia Bar Association.
He has served as a court-appointed mediator in several commercial cases in Virginia, including Va. Elec. and Power Co. v. Westinghouse Corp. and the Dalkon Shield litigation on punitive damages.
A third member of the new firm is Lawrence H. Hoover Jr., who helped draft Virginia’s ADR referral statute. As a lawyer, Hoover has specialized in estate planning and administration. He has used ADR strategies in his private practice since 1982.
Hoover was an early leader in the field and a founder of the Harrisonburg Mediation Center, the first community mediation center in Virginia. Also on board in the new firm are these members:
- former Richmond Circuit Judge Robert L. Harris Sr.;
- Guy King Tower, a corporate lawyer and former managing partner at Kaufman & Canoles in Tidewater;
- John H. OBrion Jr., a past president of the Richmond Bar Association who has practiced law in a number of different fields; and
- Dorothy J. Della Noce, who has worked exclusively in the area of mediation services for the past four years and is the author of the ADR Procedures Manual for the Supreme Court of Virginia.
© Copyright 1995 Lawyers Weekly Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission from Virginia Lawyers Weekly.