Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Efficient and Effective REMOTE Mediation, Arbitration and Legal Consultations

The choice of the "right" mediator, arbitrator, or legal consultant is always an important consideration.  But this decision is even more important than when the mediation, arbitration, and legal consultation is required or desired to be delivered remotely. 

It seems almost laughable now, but when I was a young litigator, a local U. S. District Court Judge began requiring some motions and status hearings to be conducted via speakerphone.  I found and completed a CLE course on the effective use of communication by speakerphone.  I studied the expectations, the most effective methods of projecting and having your position or argument heard, and the most effective methods of communicating your position or need by your voice alone when the other parties to the call could not see you.  And I was able to find success in my role as a result.  

Some years later, I would teach one of the first wholly online law courses in Illinois. To be effective in this role, I put in a significant amount of time and effort to learn the best practices for teaching online and I earned the designation of Master of Online Teaching from the University of Illinois. 

At around the same time I began teaching online, I was serving as a mediator for EEOC cases throughout the Central District of Illinois.  I helped resolve cases all over the portion of Illinois, more times than not, spending as much time in my vehicle as I would be facilitating the mediation.  

It was a natural progression to implement various developments in remote communication into my dispute resolution and legal consulting practice. 

And those efforts have saved the people and entities I have served a lot of time and money. 

I welcome the opportunity to discuss how I might help your resolve or navigate a legal issue in the most efficient and effective matter possible. 


Saturday, December 21, 2019

About Tom Higgins

My practice focuses on three specialties: Service as a Neutral (mediator, arbitrator or hearing officer); Advising parties and their legal counsel as a Consultant experienced in facilitating communication, planning and solutions that assist in preventing and avoiding disputes, especially in matters involving property development, property maintenance or use of property; and Serving as Legal Concierge to Fire and Police collective bargaining units and it's members.  


With a law practice background that began in the Criminal Appeals Division of the Illinois Attorney General's Office in Chicago and moved to a trial and litigation practice with a Peoria, Illinois law firm, I represented clients in court rooms, State or Federal, from Chicago to Cairo, Oquawka to Danville, Illinois.  In 1995, when it was still a relatively "new" thing to do, I completed training as Mediator and Arbitrator.  Since that time, I have been retained to help resolve various types of disputes related to property ownership, property use, and liability related to property use or ownership.  In addition, I have helped resolve disputes in other areas of the law, including a number of years mediating Federal EEOC cases.

Around the same time that I began my dispute resolution practice, I accepted an appointment to serve as an Administrative Hearing Officer for the City of Peoria, Illinois.  I served the City of Peoria for over 20 years, presiding over various municipal cases, including cases related to property use, property codes and compliance with building codes, ordinances and statutes related to real property.  I continue to serve as Administrative Hearing Officer in Creve Couer, East Peoria, Marquette Heights and Pekin, Illinois.



In addition to serving as a neutral, I am retained as a Consultant, long and short term, for the purpose of finding and facilitating solutions.  This service often involves one party and their legal counsel and stay completely "in-house". But often it involves facilitating meetings and conversations that involve other necessary parties to include elected officials and municipal building code and zoning personnel.  


Whether I am retained as a Consultant, a Mediator, an Arbitrator or appointed as a Hearing Officer, I roll up my sleeves and I go to work to understand the problem, find solutions and move the parties toward success.

In addition, because of my pre-law school education and career experiences in public service, I have been retained and I am available to serve Fire and Police collective bargaining units as Legal Concierge.  In this capacity, I advise the organization board, consult with and advise it's members, facilitate informative and productive communication with the public and politicians and otherwise promote a safe and productive work environment for public safety employees that benefit both those individuals and the communities they serve.     

My fees are very reasonable and my services are effective, efficient and most importantly, consistent.


To contact me, please use the Contact tab and we can begin discussing your property solution today.