MEMBER PROFILE: Michael D. Smith Esq.
 

Michael D. Smith Esq.
Michael D. Smith Mediated Settlements
904 East Gadsden Street
Pensacola, FL 32501

Tel: (850) 432-9850
Fax: (850) 432-0078
Email: mdscos@cox.net
floridamediators.org/michael-smith



ONLINE APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING
   
Calendar Last Updated: 9 Dec 16

 





Click your preferred date to send our office a Date Request form.

All such requests will go immediately to
Mike Smith's scheduling staff
(Cindy Smith, mdscos@cox.net)

 

ADR SERVICES & CERTIFICATIONS
 
ADR Services:
Mediation (Circuit-Civil)
Mediation (Federal)

 

FL Certification Qualifications:
Circuit-Civil Mediator

Serving the following Judicial Circuits:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

[ Click for Map of Florida's Civil Circuits ]


MEDIATION CASE EXPERIENCE
 
Michael D. Smith Esq. has experience in settling the following types of case:
ADA Disability
Admiralty
Automotive
Civil Rights
Class Actions
Commercial/Business
Condominiums
Construction
Contract Disputes
Debt Collections
Eminent Domain
Employment
Environmental
Health Care
Insurance
Legal Malpractice
Medical Malpractice
Natural Disasters
Nursing Homes
Personal Injury
Pharmaceuticals
Premises Liability
Probate
Product Liability
Professional Liability
Professional Malpractice
Professional Negligence
Real Estate
Torts
Wrongful Death
 
PROFESSIONAL INFORMATION

Biographical Notes:

MIKE'S PHILOSOPHY OF THE MEDIATION PROCESS:  As a neutral helper for all parties, my job is to provide everyone with the best environment, the best opportunity, and the best chance to reach a settlement IF that is what the parties decide they want to do. I promise to never force, coerce, trick, or fool anyone into reaching a settlement. While seeking to sincerely understand and appreciate the parties' positions and interests, my goal is to help equip each and every decision maker with whatever information he or she needs to make a wise, informed decision regarding whether to settle OR to risk continuing the controversy/litigation which could result in an adverse ruling or verdict. If provided with a good understanding of risk, most people prefer to avoid it by finding peace through compromise and resolution.


IT'S IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE ROLE OF THE MEDIATOR: "I cringe when I hear a lawyer or a party tell me that I have my work cut out for me. Simply stated, parties and their lawyers settle mediations, not mediators. My job is easy. I'm the point guard who will give the parties and their lawyers plenty of assists, but it's ultimately up to the parties to make the shot if they want to score a resolution."

EXPERIENCE: Mike has been a certified mediator for 24 of the 36 years he has practiced law. For over 23 years, Mike has been a full-time mediator, mediating approximately 250 to 300 disputes per year. He has mediated more than 5,000 cases to date. In 2005, Mike purchased and renovated a 100 year old Victorian office, which easily accommodates multi-party mediations. During the first 25 years of his practice, Mike was privileged to have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about litigation and negotiation skills and tactics from many of his former law partners who were outstanding litigators. Prior to becoming a mediator, Mike was a personal injury and commercial litigator, who realized the value of negotiated settlements in the early days of Florida mediations. Shortly after becoming certified, his mediation practice grew so much that he no longer had time to litigate. Mike says that it was like grass taking over a yard full of weeds!

CIRCUIT COURT MEDIATOR:  Certified by Florida Supreme Court since 1992; member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals Florida Academy of Professional Mediators; lecturer on mediation at seminars and meetings for lawyers and laymen; volunteer pro bono mediator of juvenille restitution disputes; appointed and approved by the Florida Department of Insurance to mediate claims resulting from Hurricanes Erin and Opal; mediated over 400 hurricane (Ivan, Dennis, Georges, Danny, Opal, Erin) cases; mediated over 300 construction cases; mediated approximately 500 employment discrimination cases; mediated over 500 professional malpractice (medical, architectural, legal, accounting, real estate) cases; co-founder of SEBIRG (South Eastern Breast Implant Resolution Group); mediated approximately 300 breast implant cases; mediated over 500 nursing home cases; mediated over 500 product liability cases; mediated over 500 death cases and well over 3,000 personal injury cases. Extensive Experience - throughout Florida (including Pensacola, Ft. Walton Beach, Destin, Crestview, Panama City, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami) and Southeastern United States (GA, AL, MS, LA, TN, NC, SC) mediating personal injury, wrongful death, mass tort products liability (breast implant, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, motor vehicles, asbestos, Chinese Dry Wall, etc.), professional malpractice, employment discrimination, nursing home, civil rights, eminent domain, family, contract, construction, commercial, hurricane damage, insurance, admiralty and probate disputes.

WHEN HE ISN'T MEDIATING: Mike enjoys family, church, community, golf, boating, barefoot water skiing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, labrador retrievers, Wake Forest football and basketball and other sports activities. He has served as President of several community organizations, including Pensacola Sports Association, Leadership Pensacola, Greater Pensacola Touchdown Club and Five Flags Sertoma Club. He also chaired the 1998 United States Open Waterski and Wakeboard Championships and over 100 golf tournaments.

Education:

  • 1973 Graduate of Escambia High School, Pensacola, Florida
  • 1977 B.S. Business, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • 1980 J.D., Wake Forest School of Law, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • One of only three mediators nationwide to have attended every Advanced Training Conference of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals and the Florida Circuit Civil Mediator Society, including conferences held in Orlando, Amelia Island, Boston, and Denver. 

Languages

English

Memberships & Affiliations :

  • Florida Bar - member since 1980
  • Florida Academy of Professional Mediators
  • Florida Circuit Civil Mediator Society
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
  • Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association - member since 1980; Law Day Committee Chairman 1983; Law Day Golf Tournament Chairman since 1985; Executive Committee Member 1985-1986; Young Lawyers Section President 1990; Bar Association Secretary 1993-1994; Lawyer/Doctor Golf Outing Chairman since 1997
  • American Bar Association - member since 1980
  • Federal Bar - Admitted to United States Supreme Court, United States Courts of Appeal for the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, and United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • Martindale-Hubbell - "AV" Rating


RATES & PAYMENT INFORMATION

Rates: For mediations within 200 miles of Pensacola, $145.00 per party per hour; 4 hour minimum charge; 3 party maximum charge, plus travel time @ $125.00 per hour and mileage. For Saturday, Sunday, and holiday mediations and mediations more than 200 miles from Pensacola, daily rates apply: $4,350.00 per day; includes 2 hours of prep and 8 hours of mediation; additional time charged @ $435.00 per hour; plus actual travel time @$125.00 per hour and mileage. For service as special master, hearing officer, arbitrator, or umpire, $435.00 per hour; 8 hour per day minimum charge.

Payment: Following the mediation, each party's attorney and any unrepresented parties will be billed for and will be expected to promptly pay for their share of the mediator's charges. Deposits are sometimes required to hold dates.

Cancellation Policy: For fully booked full time mediators, cancellation fees have become an unfortunate necessary evil to avoid last minute cancellations. However, Mike hates cancellation fees, so there is no charge for cancellations. In return, Mike requests that people who book mediations with him try very hard to either avoid cancellations or, if necessary, provide him with as much notice as possible so he can reopen the date for someone else to schedule a mediation. Thank you.


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