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NEUTRAL LEFT FIRM TO RIDE EMPLOYMENT SURGE AFFILIATION: JAMS BORN: June 28, 1947 LAW SCHOOL: Hastings College of the Law, 1974 PREVIOUS JUDICIAL EXPERIENCE: None Michael Loeb’s first few months as a full-time neutral have been a departure for a litigator who spent 30 years at big firms. “In a sense, it’s a lonelier existence,” he said recently. “You’re on your own.” Since leaving Bingham McCutchen for ADR provider JAMS in March, Loeb has slowly been getting used to developing his own business without the benefit of a big firm and to handling cases alone. Fortunately, these are good times to be an experienced employment lawyer offering mediation services. Wage and hour class actions are booming, employment discrimination cases are a continual source of headaches for companies, and few neutrals have experience in this area stretching back to before the surge in wage and hour litigation. So Loeb is hoping to capitalize on that experience and, perhaps just as importantly, his good standing with plaintiff and defense lawyers, to build up a practice focused on employment and disability law. The seeds for Loeb’s move from litigation to dispute resolution were planted in 1993 when he was one of the first lawyers to enroll in the neutral-training program for the Northern District of California federal court. In the years since, Loeb slowly increased the number of mediations he was handling, doing 25 to 30 annually in his last years at Bingham. The work was a welcome change from the increasingly polarized world of employment and labor litigation. For example, Loeb said, in the past he was able to take on a small amount of plaintiff work in addition to his normal caseload defending employers. Not anymore. “That had become more and more difficult,” he said. “There’s a brighter and brighter line” between attorneys who work for employers and those who represent workers. He removed himself from that fray. “I like to refer to myself as a reforming lawyer,” Loeb said. So far, he added, much of his neutral work is coming from plaintiff lawyers, oftentimes attorneys he opposed in litigation. They say that his reputation as a defense lawyer who plays fair � and whom defendants see as credible and knowledgeable � makes him a good choice. “As an adversary, he cut through to the main issues, and focused on the interest of his client,” said Lawrence Paradis, the director of Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley, who opposed Loeb in several class actions. “There were no games, no posturing.” Paradis has since hired Loeb to mediate actions involving access issues for disabled plaintiffs. Other plaintiff and union-side lawyers said they’ve hired Loeb to handle cases with individual plaintiffs largely because he’s able to make their clients feel comfortable in otherwise tense circumstances. “He’s always someone I’ve felt comfortable talking to,” said Jean Hyams, a partner at the East Bay plaintiff firm Boxer & Gerson who has used Loeb as a mediator. She first met him when they were on the board of the East Bay Community Law Center. “He’s a nice guy, and that helps,” Hyams added. “Even though he was on the dark side, as we like to think of it, of litigation.” She and other lawyers on both sides of the aisle said Loeb’s experience representing employers without infuriating plaintiff attorneys makes him an easy person for both sides to agree on. “He’s low-key, which is part of his effectiveness,” said David Rosenfeld, a partner at the Oakland labor-side firm Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld. “He really understands the issues before him.” Rosenfeld said Loeb is particularly effective in situations where the sides are ready to talk out a dispute, as opposed to when they need a neutral who will bully them into a settlement. “He’s not one who pressures people,” Rosenfeld said. Instead, lawyers said, Loeb will often get parties together in the same room at the beginning of negotiations and persistently try to keep talks civil and productive. “What made him effective, and why I would hire him again, is he’s extremely patient and he absolutely won’t give up,” said James Martin, a partner at Reed Smith who represents employers. “He’s very committed to his role as a mediator.” Martin, who got to know Loeb when the two were partners at the now-defunct Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May, was among several lawyers citing that persistence. “One of the things that stood out most to me about Mike as a mediator � and I remember being amused by this � is that he brings his lunch,” Hyams said. “He has a paper-bag lunch, and he just doesn’t stop in the mediation.” Loeb currently charges $4,500 a day or $2,500 for a half day for two-party cases, and $6,000 a day for class actions. That includes six to eight hours of preparation time and preparatory meetings. “I don’t know what my rate will be, going forward,” he said. “Right now I’m more interested in building my practice.”

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