Commercial Litigation, Securities Litigation and Dispute Resolution Services in Pittsburgh, PA
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Experienced mediator in a wide range of cases including banking, commercial, consumer, securities, employment , fiduciary or insurance litigation, trade secret/non-compete cases and class actions

"Discourage litigation.  Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can.  Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses, and waste of time.  As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man.  There will still be business enough."  Abraham Lincoln, Notes for a Law Lecture (1850).

Mr. Betts serves as a mediator in a wide range of litigation matters, including banking litigation, class actions, commercial/complex litigation, consumer litigation, securities litigation and arbitrations (FINRA customer claims and employment cases), employment litigation, fiduciary litigation, insurance litigation and trade secret/non-compete cases.

Mr. Betts is on the approved roster of neutrals for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  He also has been approved by the Court to serve as an E-Discovery Special Master and Mediator.  In addition, Mr. Betts is on the American Arbitration Association’s national arbitrator panel for commercial and consumer cases.  He also has been certified by FINRA Dispute Resolution as an approved arbitrator and mediator.

Mr. Betts employs a hybrid style of mediation that is a blend of "facilitative" and "evaluative" approaches (unless the parties otherwise agree or court rules otherwise provide).  After he obtains an understanding of the background of the case and the factual and legal issues that are presented, Mr. Betts will draw on his thirty-seven years of litigation experience to assist the parties and their counsel in evaluating the risks and expense of continued litigation.  Mr. Betts frequently applies "decision tree" analyses to the cases he mediates and has found this to be a valuable tool in helping the parties reach common ground in their respective assessments of the case.  Mr. Betts eschews the approach used in many mediations, where the role of the mediator is reduced to shuttling settlement proposals back and forth between or among the parties, without offering an objective evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of each party's positions.

Decision Tree Analysis

Decision Tree Analysis is a tool that Mr. Betts frequently employs in his mediations.  Decision Tree Analysis is an approach to quantifying the uncertainties that are inherent in determining the reasonable settlement value of lawsuits.  In Mr. Betts’s experience, Decision Tree Analysis is a very effective tool in helping parties and their counsel evaluate a wide range of cases, given what the parties themselves determine to be the probabilities of various possible outcomes in the case, and the risks, costs and benefits associated with each of the possible outcomes.

Mr. Betts is a licensee of a sophisticated software program that he uses – with the input of parties and their counsel – to build a decision tree that reflects the possible outcomes in a lawsuit and provides a valuation of the case based on the weighted average of each possible outcome.  Mr. Betts is an experienced and knowledgeable user of the software.  Mr. Betts has found that one of the benefits of Decision Tree Analysis is that many parties – particularly business executives in commercial litigation matters and business disputes – find the rigorous and disciplined approach used in Decision Tree Analysis to be greatly preferable to simply relying on the intuition of their counsel and/or the mediator concerning the value of cases. When Mr. Betts employs Decision Tree Analysis, parties are given the opportunity to have input into the building of the tree and the underlying assumptions that are used in predicting the possibilities of various outcomes.  This usually results in “buy-in” by the parties of the settlement value of the case determined by Decision Tree Analysis, which can be critical in assisting the parties in reaching common ground about a reasonable settlement value for the case.

Mr. Betts is sensitive to the cost of mediation and works with parties and their counsel to structure mediations in such a manner as to efficiently use the parties' resources.  For example, Mr. Betts conducts half-day sessions if the parties desire.  In addition, and when permitted by court rules, Mr. Betts can structure a "virtual" online mediation or a telephonic mediation.  Although in most cases in-person sessions are regarded as most desirable (and may be required by court rules), a virtual or telephonic mediation may be prove to be the most efficient approach, particularly when significant travel by the parties and their counsel is involved or when scheduling a timely in-person session may be impracticable.

Mr. Betts's hourly rate for serving as mediator is $300 (shared by the parties).  Quotes for flat fees for half-day or full day sessions are available upon request.


For additional information about the mediation services provided by Michael J. Betts or to schedule a mediation session, please contact Mr. Betts by telephone at 412-397-9933 or via email mbetts@bettsllc.com

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