By: Donald L. Swanson
C. Edward Dobbs, Partner at Parker Hudson Rainer & Dobbs, is a leading expert on ethics rules for bankruptcy mediation. I’ve heard him speak a number of times on the subject. And every time I hear him speak about mediation, I come away a bit scared.
“A mediator of a dispute arising in a bankruptcy case will find little in the way of definitive guidance on the standards of conduct to govern his or her service.”
“A violation of a standard” may result in “the mediator being disciplined” or “the voiding” of a settlement agreement or “malpractice” or “other liability.”
So says Dobbs in his “Standards of Professional Conduct for Mediators” chapter of “Bankruptcy Mediation,” a book recently published by the American Bankruptcy
How’s that for scary:
–The ethics standards aren’t entirely clear, but consequences for violation can be severe.
Dobbs provides, in his chapter of the book, a list of sources of such ethical standards, including local bankruptcy court rules and state court rules.
Then, he distills “the various sources of standards” into “best practices” for the following subjects:
–conflicts of interest and disclosure
–competence of mediator
–arbitrator of same dispute
–conduct at mediation conference
–withdrawal from or termination of mediation
–drafting settlement documents
–ethical considerations concerning mediator compensation
–documentation retention and disposition
–ethics in marketing
This ethics chapter by Dobbs is essential reading for every mediator of bankruptcy disputes.
The book can be ordered here.
Part One of this “Bankruptcy Mediation ” book series is here.