Paul Crowley Mediation

Reaching Reasonable Resolutions

Paul-G-Crowley

Why consider mediation?

If you’re a party to a dispute, mediation is quicker, easier, cheaper, more satisfying and less risky than the traditional litigation process. If you’re the lawyer for a party to a dispute, the work is also very rewarding, both personally and professionally.

The process of people resolving their own problems makes a lot of sense. People are more satisfied with the result when they’ve had an active hand in the resolution, rather than having the matter decided by a judge, an arbitrator or a jury. The agreements are generally final. There’s no risk of appeal and the associated costs.

On a personal basis for me, after working directly with the parties and their lawyers I almost always feel that I have made new friends at the end of a mediation. During the mediation process one truly gets to know the people involved, their strengths, their weaknesses and their fears. That is not the case in the more traditional litigation process.

I believe that where there’s a conflict, there’s almost always a solution. Creating quicker, less expensive and more satisfying means of resolving disputes was the most rewarding part of my work as a judge.

Professionally, I’ve been blessed with an ability to help resolve most disputes. It’s a matter of pride. It’s something that has saved people a lot of time, money and anxiety. It’s my hope it can do the same for you.

Paul Crowley


Professional History


Paul G Crowley

Paul Crowley served for nearly 23 years as a District and Circuit Court judge in the Seventh Judicial District. He was Presiding Judge for more than 15 of those years. He was first appointed Presiding Judge in 1996 while still a District Court Judge, one of only two in Oregon history to serve in this role.

During his elected judicial service, Crowley was the District’s primary settlement conference judge. He conducted over 75 percent of the settlement conferences, dealing with issues that included such matters as personal injury; professional malpractice; divorce; easement and boundary disputes; probate issues; employment law; contracts; aggravated murder and other crimes. He also resolved significant general public interest issues involving local public bodies in the multi-county Seventh Judicial District.

Since retiring from the Circuit Court bench in 2014, Crowley has continued to serve around the state as a Plan B judge, assisting with conflict cases and judicial shortfalls. He also continues to practice privately as a mediator.

Crowley was instrumental in developing mediation and alternative dispute resolution systems in the Seventh Judicial District’s courts. As a founding member, he chaired the District’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee from 1996 to 2013. He was also a founding member of the District’s Family Law Advisory Council; the District’s five courthouse security committees; and the Hood River/Wasco County Victim Impact Panel. He created what is probably the only diversionary program in the state for dog ordinance violations.

There are four judges serving five counties and five courthouses in this district. The district includes Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler counties. As a result, the judges are utility players, presiding over a broad range of cases in the very diverse district. On one particular day, for example, Judge Crowley presided over a barking dog complaint in the morning and a first degree murder case in the afternoon.

In 2012, he successfully mediated a new rate formula for the four counties that share financial responsibility for the jail and juvenile detention facilities at the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facilities, settling a long-running dispute. Crowley’s other public interest mediations have included resolving a water rate dispute between the City of Hood River and the Ice Fountain Water District; and settling an open meeting dispute between the City of Cascade Locks and the Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

At the request of the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, Crowley chaired the Judicial Department’s Special Task Force on the Future of Technology in Oregon Courts, a state-wide technology task force that set in motion the implementation of the eCourt system. (Under the eCourt system, all court records and filings are kept and made electronically.)

The Task Force was composed of Appellate Court judges, Circuit Court judges, Trial Court Administrators, members of the Office of the State Court Administrator’s Office and Technology Division, and a liaison from the Oregon State Bar. Crowley’s job was to facilitate this large group with extremely diverse interests to reach a consensus conclusion. That was done on schedule.

“It was a job that needed high-level facilitation skills,” said State Court Administrator Kingsley Click, herself a Task Force member. “Judge Crowley did a fantastic job mediating through long-standing disputes and creating a climate that allowed for difficult but necessary change.” (Hood River News, February 12, 2014.)

Crowley offers his services as a mediator without charge for public interest dispute resolution. He otherwise works under the fee schedule listed below on any type of case where the parties are represented by counsel.

Crowley has been a member of the Oregon State Bar Association since 1985. He and his wife Susan make their home in Hood River. He enjoys traveling around the state to work with different professionals, issues and jurisdictions.

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Resume


Professional:

2014 to the present: Oregon State Court Plan B Judge and private mediator.

1998 to 2014: Circuit Court Judge, Seventh Judicial District, including two terms as Presiding Judge.

2004 to 2005: Chair of the Oregon Judicial Department’s Special Task Force on the Future of Technology in Oregon Courts, which led to the implementation of eCourt.

1991 to 1998: District Court Judge for Hood River County in the Seventh Judicial District, including one term as Presiding Judge.

1987 to 1991: Associate at the Hood River based law firm of Pitcher & Wright.  He provided indigent defense services with a heavy caseload on a variety of cases ranging from Class A felonies to misdemeanors to juvenile dependency and delinquency matters. Crowley also carried a separate appellate caseload.

1985 to 1987: Associate at the Salem law firm of Allen, Stortz, Fox & Susee, a general practice firm.  Crowley’s caseload primarily involved appellate practice, business law, representation of creditors, and criminal defense.

Educational:

1985: Willamette University College of Law, J.D.

1981: Successfully passed the Certified Public Accountants’ examination (unlicensed).

1981: Northern Illinois University, B.S. in Accountancy, minor in English.

Personal:

 

Paul and Susan CrowleyCrowley has lived in Hood River County since 1987. He and his wife, Susan, have lived in the city of Hood River since 1991.

He has been an active member of the Hood River County Crag Rats, the oldest mountain search and rescue organization in North America, since 1998.  He has served in all of the organization’s officer positions. He has achieved Life Membership status by summiting Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, the North Sister, the Middle Sister and the South Sister.

He has belonged to the Hood River Rotary Club since 1991, is a member of the service committee, and has chaired the club’s dictionary program for over 20 years.

His personal interests and activities include writing, playing Bluegrass music (clawhammer banjo and fiddle), mountain climbing, skiing, hiking, biking, kiteboarding, other water based sports, and gardening badly.

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FAQ


What’s the difference between mediation and arbitration?

A mediator does not make decisions. The mediator assists the parties in reaching an agreement. In arbitration, the parties empower the arbitrator to decide the case much like a judge.

What’s the first step in one of your mediations?

We start off with a conference call between myself and the lawyers. At that time, we discuss generally what the case is about; determine whether there are any conflicts of interest; set a date and place for the mediation; and set a timeline for the pre-mediation written submissions and the payment of the retainer.

Are you willing to travel?

Absolutely. I have a long history as a true Circuit rider, regularly presiding over courts in a district stretching from Hood River to Fossil. I truly enjoy getting around the state and have appeared in over one-half of Oregon’s counties as a judge or as a mediator.

Do the parties need to send you anything before the mediation?

Yes.  At least one week before the mediation, the parties are required to submit a short (preferably no more than five pages) confidential memorandum that includes the following: a general statement of the case; the party’s view of the strengths and weaknesses of their case, as well as their opponent’s case; any prior settlement offers; and an indication of the party’s view of what would be a reasonable resolution in light of the cost and risk of litigation.

The submission may be made electronically or by regular mail. Other documents a party deems appropriate, such as appraisals, may be included.

In retained cases, the retainer is also due at least one week in advance of the mediation.

When asset and liability statements are included the parties are strongly encouraged to use a common format to save time and money. That means that the assets and liabilities are listed in the same order, using the same names. This avoids time and money being wasted during the mediation trying to determine accurately what the assets and liabilities are.

How do your mediations work?

It’s important to realize that no one size fits all. The end goal is resolution, and flexibility is key. The exact approach taken to get there depends upon the parties, their needs, their styles and the preference of the attorneys. I arrive prepared to listen and pay very close attention in order to identify areas of possible agreement. Often parties don’t realize how many important issues are not really in dispute.

Most commonly, an evaluative process is used, meaning that the strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ cases will be probed. Generally, a shuttle mediation approach is taken. I meet with the parties separately and then bring them together at appropriate times, with the consent of their lawyers.

My training as an accountant is often vital to the process. I have the ability to simplify complicated financial matters, allowing the parties to more easily sort through those issues.

In all cases, when a resolution is reached the parties are brought together to assure that there truly is a meeting of the minds. The agreement is put in writing at that time or a recording is made of the agreement. The attorneys are responsible for the writing or the recording.

Will mediations be conducted with people who do not have lawyers?

With the exception of public interest cases, no. That is to avoid the risk of someone looking to the mediator for legal advice. A mediator’s job is to help the parties reach an agreement, not to give legal advice. I am very careful about this.

In public interest cases, mediations may be conducted without counsel. For example, as a judge I mediated a rate formula dispute between four counties that share a regional jail. The counties’ attorneys did not participate directly in the mediation.

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Fee Schedule


The retained hourly rate is $250. There is no charge for administrative matters such as initial conference calls, scheduling and billing.

There is no charge for travel time or expenses between Hood River and The Dalles. For travel north, south or west of Hood River and east of The Dalles time is billed at $100 per hour and expenses at the federal mileage rate.

A retainer sufficient to cover anticipated fees and expenses is due no later than seven days before the mediation.

Public interest cases are handled on a pro bono basis. Public interest cases generally involve governing bodies or public interest organizations, and pertain to issues that impact the general public. My past public interest mediations have included such parties as the governing bodies of counties and cities; resource districts; and nonprofit organizations.


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Contact details
The Hon. Paul G. Crowley (ret.)
PO Box 963
Hood River, OR 97031
pgcrowley@earthlink.net
(541) 386-7729