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Michael D. Smith Esq., Mediator & Arbitrator, Pensacola, Florida.

Michael D. Smith Esq.

Diplomate member
Michael D. Smith Mediated Settlements
904 East Gadsden Street
Pensacola, FL, 32501
Tel: (850) 432-9850
Cell: (850) 516-5343
Fax: (850) 432-0078
Website: floridamediators.org/michael-smith
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Recognized to Florida Chapter for Mediation & Arbitration

Regularly travels out of state to: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina

Other ADR Services: ADR Training/CME, Insurance Umpire, Special Master
  • Practice Commenced: 1992
  • Total Mediations (as of Sep 2019): 7000
  • Total Arbitrations (as of Sep 2019): 100
Practice Percentages
  • 1st Circuit
  • 2nd Circuit
  • 3rd Circuit
  • 4th Circuit
  • 5th Circuit
  • 6th Circuit
  • 7th Circuit
  • 8th Circuit
  • 9th Circuit
  • 10th Circuit
  • 11th Circuit
  • 12th Circuit
  • 13th Circuit
  • 14th Circuit
  • 15th Circuit
  • 16th Circuit
  • 17th Circuit
  • 18th Circuit
  • 19th Circuit
  • 20th Circuit
Click for Map of Florida's Civil Circuits

Biographical

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, well 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 27 of the 39 years he has practiced law. For over 25 years, Mike has been a full-time mediator, mediating approximately 250 to 300 disputes per year. He has mediated more than 7,000 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 (Harrell, Wiltshire, Stone & Swearingen) and (Wilson, Harrell & Smith) who were outstanding litigators. Prior to becoming a mediator, Mike was a personal injury, wrongful death, employment discrimination, 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 500 hurricane (Ivan, Dennis, Georges, Danny, Opal, Erin, and Michael) 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 over 300 breast implant cases; mediated over 500 nursing home cases; mediated over 500 product liability cases; mediated over 750 death cases and over 4,000 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, law enforcement, negligent security, 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 (yes, even in my 60’s) 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.


Case Experience

  • ADA Disability
  • Admiralty
  • Anti-Trust
  • Appellate
  • Automotive
  • Aviation
  • Banking & Finance
  • Business Dissolution
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Actions
  • Commercial/Business
  • Condominiums
  • Construction
  • Contract Disputes
  • Debt Collections
  • Discrimination
  • Elder Abuse
  • Eminent Domain
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Family Businesses
  • Health Care
  • Insurance
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Medical Devices
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Mortgage Foreclosure
  • Natural Disasters
  • Nursing Homes
  • Personal Injury
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Premises Liability
  • Probate
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Fees
  • Professional Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Professional Negligence
  • Property Damage
  • Real Estate
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Torts
  • Trusts / Estates
  • Wrongful Death

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
  • Attended Advanced Training Conferences of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals and the Florida Circuit Civil Mediator Society, in Orlando, Amelia Island, Boston, Denver, and Toronto.

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Florida Bar - member since 1980
  • Florida Academy of Professional Mediators
  • Florida Circuit Civil Mediator Society - Charter Member
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals - Charter Member; Diplomate Member
  • 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 Information

For mediations within 200 miles of Pensacola, $145.00 per party per hour; 4 hour minimum charge; 3 party maximum charge, plus travel time @ $150.00 per hour. 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 @ $150.00 per hour. For service as special master, hearing officer, arbitrator, or umpire, $435.00 per hour; 8 hour per day minimum charge.

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