Attorney Steven H. Atherton is committed to helping people resolve their disputes quickly, satisfactorily and cost-effectively. In his many years as a litigator, Attorney Atherton found that negotiation, mediation and arbitration were often the best way for his clients to achieve their goals. Attorney Atherton now uses his skills as a former litigator to help people resolve their disputes by serving as an independent mediator and/or arbitrator.
Attorney Atherton brings an uncommon breadth and depth of experience to bear on behalf of his clients. In his legal practice, Mr. Atherton has worked for some of the largest and most prestigious international law firms and ran his own small-town general practice. As a result, he has litigated in criminal, family, civil, probate, tax, bankruptcy and appellate courts; written wills and trusts; helped people to buy, sell and lease real estate; counseled businessmen in every aspect of their operations and resolved just about every kind of dispute.
As an ordained Christian Minister for decades, Mr. Atherton has helped people from all walks of life successfully address the most intimate and difficult issues people experience. In his capacity as a chemical engineer and long-time small business owner, Mr. Atherton understands what it takes to succeed in businesses of all sorts, shapes and sizes. As a husband and homeschooling father of four, Mr. Atherton knows all about family. As someone who has lived and worked in urban and rural areas across the northeast, southeast, mid-west and southwestern parts of the U.S. as well as in Peru and the Netherlands, Mr. Atherton knows people. When coupled with his travels throughout the United States, Western Europe, Central America, the Middle East and South Africa, these experiences have developed in Mr. Atherton a unique perspective and ability to work effectively with just about anyone.
RESOLVING YOUR DISPUTE IS OUR BUSINESS
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution procedure where the parties work together in a private, confidential environment with a neutral third party (mediator) to discuss the facts and circumstances of their dispute to see if they can reach a voluntary agreement on how best to resolve their issues. It is likely the most frequently employed alternative dispute resolution procedure (largely due to court mandates) by which people resolve their disputes across the United States today.
Some of the main reasons why mediation so frequently results in settlement are (1) the high cost of court room battles, (2) the lengthy time periods it generally takes courts to decide cases and (3) the uncertainties concerning what the ultimate outcome of litigation will be. While such considerations are important, they do not tend to focus parties on the real benefits of mediation. As a result, many participants in mediation feel shoe-horned into resolving their dispute in unsatisfactory manners. Sometimes this results in breaches of the settlement agreement that lead right back to court. Other times, the parties’ dissatisfaction plagues their post-settlement relations in manners that adversely affect their lives for years. Either way, such mediated resolutions cannot be considered a success.
Successful mediations result when the parties recognize that ONLY they have the power to fashion a resolution to their dispute that will truly be satisfactory. This truth is critical, but seldom considered by those engaged in mediation. The reasons why only the parties can reach a truly acceptable resolution are quite simple. First, courts only have limited powers. Frequently, the relief that would be most satisfactory the courts do not even have power to grant. Second, no one knows the issues in dispute as intimately as the parties. Judges and juries on their best days are rarely, if ever, going to be able truly put themselves into the parties’ shoes to be able to see how the judgments they render and the relief they grant will affect the parties. Finally, it is only the parties who actually know the truth concerning the issues in dispute and the truth is the cornerstone of any satisfactory solution. No solution that is ever based upon a lie will every truly satisfy, even though the lie may be to the advantage of one or another party. When the warring parties recognize this, they can often work together in ways that they would never have imagined to fashion settlements that are durable and satisfactory. This is when the full power of a mediated resolution is manifested.
If you desire to successful mediate your dispute, rather than just resolve your dispute through mediation, then the most important decision you will make is who you choose to mediate your dispute. Selecting a mediator is a very personal decision. Some of the factors that we recommend you consider include:
- The parties’ confidence in the personal integrity/impartiality of the mediator.
- The mediator’s knowledge of the relevant law and ability to provide impartial feedback on the relative merits of parties’ positions as they relate to the court where the dispute will ultimately be decided if mediation fails.
- The willingness and capacity of the mediator to understand the human side of the conflict and properly account for those dynamics in helping the parties fashion a durable solution.
- The mediator’s ability to see, typically before the parties do, the place where a mutually satisfactory resolution can likely be reached and to help the parties find that place.
If you believe that Attorney Atherton can help resolve your dispute, please give us a call. We may be able to mediate your dispute in person or virtually via Zoom or some other means.
Arbitration is a trial alternative that works exceedingly well in many situations. This is particularly true where the parties have agreed to arbitrate their disputes long before any disputes arise. If you need sample arbitration language to include in your business contracts, pre-nuptial agreement, trust, purchase and sale contract or other agreement, just get let us know. We’ll be happy to provide it. Even when disputing parties have no such agreement in place ahead of time, arbitration is often preferred, particularly by businesses and/or individuals looking for privacy, a quicker and often more cost-effective path to resolution, the specialized knowledge required to properly understand and decide the issues, or the ability to define the legal regime that will govern resolution.
Whatever may be your reason for considering arbitration, the fact that an arbitrator’s decision is final and generally unappealable places a premium on selecting the right arbitrator. In our experience, some of the critical factors you will want to consider are the arbitrator’s
- personal integrity and impartiality;
- knowledge of the applicable law;
- ability to understand the nature of the parties’ dispute; and
- capacity to discern the truth from conflicting testimony.
If you would like Attorney Atherton to arbitrate your dispute, please give us a call to discuss whether and on what terms that might be done.
Christian Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Christians get into disputes just like anyone else. As a Christian Minister for decades and the head of The Fishermen Ministry since 2017, Attorney Atherton knows this truth very well. In his capacity as a minister, he has seen the Lord move in extraordinary ways to resolve disputes, restore relations and work out solutions in situations that seemed impossible to all concerned. In his capacity as an attorney, he is steeped in helping a wide variety of clients resolve their family, business, estate, and other disputes through negotiation, litigation and alternative dispute resolution. These experiences uniquely qualify Christian Minister and Attorney Steven H. Atherton to help churches generally and believers specifically resolve their disputes through negotiation, mediation and/or arbitration.
If you want to learn more about Attorney Atherton’s Christian faith, check out The Fishermen Ministry’s website. Mr. Atherton is the head of this Bible believing Church’s worldwide operations and the website includes his personal testimony of faith, the fellowship’s Articles of Faith as well as many of Mr. Atherton’s sermons, tent revivals meetings, Bible Studies, Ministers Conference seminars and writings.
In providing mediation and arbitration services to the Christian community, Mr. Atherton is keenly aware of Christ’s warnings to lawyers and guidance to believers on various matters as well as the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Corinthian Church, where he stated:
- Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
- Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
- Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
- If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
- I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
- But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.
- Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather [suffer yourselves to] be defrauded?
- Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that [your] brethren. I Corinthian 6:1-9.
He also knows the riches of the Old and New Testaments’ abundant teachings on and case studies of God’s justice, judgment, wisdom, mercy, grace, equity, power and love prevailing in the affairs of men. Trusting in that same Lord (who remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow), Mr. Atherton is blessed to be a part of God’s ministry to His Body through his Christian Alternative Dispute Resolution practice. If you believe Mr. Atherton can be of help to satisfactorily resolving your dispute, please give us a call to discuss how he might be able to do that.
Attorney Atherton no longer maintains a physical address as he is on the road full-time. He does have local assistants in Vermont and Texas who can meet with clients by appointment. Typically, we do most everything electronically.
Thank you for visiting our website. Feel free to contact us via mail, email (using the form below), fax or phone if you need assistance, but remember no attorney-client relationship is established until a written contract for legal services has been executed.