Employment Lawyer Weinick Sworn In As Mediator For Manhattan’s Federal Court

On August 24, 2023, the Honorable Philip M. Halpern administered the judicial oath of office to employment lawyer Matthew Weinick, marking Weinick’s appointment to the panel of mediators serving the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. As a panel mediator, Weinick will be randomly selected to serve as a mediator for cases designated for court ordered mediation.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. Rather than the formal, rigid structure of court proceedings, mediation is an informal and confidential way for plaintiffs and defendants to meet to try to reach a settlement of their dispute. Mediators are trained in techniques which can help the parties reach a settlement. More information about mediation in general, is available here.

The Southern District of New York (SDNY) is one of New York’s federal courts. It has jurisdiction over federal cases from counties in New York State such as New York, Bronx, Westchester, Rockland, Sullivan, Orange, and Dutchess. Because of the area it covers, the Southern District of New York has handled many famous court cases, including most recently, the sentencing of President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, the “deflategate” litigation relating to the NFL, and the prosecution of Bernie Madoff.

Also because of the area it covers, the SDNY is a busy court. To control case load, the Court has adopted several programs, including mandatory mediation for different types of cases, including some employment cases and some police misconduct cases. These programs send roughly 1500 cases per year to early mediation (i.e. soon after the case is filed) with the hope that some of the cases can be settled and taken off the Court’s docket, to relieve the stress on the system.

With 1500 cases per year in the mediation program, the SDNY routinely looks for qualified and experienced mediators to join the panel. The SDNY uses a “wheel,” to assign mediators, as it does for judges, as well. This means mediators (and judges) are assigned at random, when a case enters the mediation referral program.

The road to Weinick’s swearing in started last year. Weinick underwent a rigorous application process, which reviewed his qualifications and fitness to serve. A panel of interviewers questioned Weinick about his experience and other background material. Ultimately, the panel approved Weinick’s application.

Next, the Court’s mediation office required that Weinick demonstrate his mediation skills, and ability to adhere to the program’s strict standards and quality of service. Weinick participated in a serious of mediation observations to understand how other mediators on the panel implement the court’s rules, styles, and guidelines, then Weinick was paired with a highly experienced mediator, so that Weinick could demonstrate his mediation skills at a real life court ordered mediation session.

After receiving a “thumbs up” from his evaluator and upon an additional qualifications review from the program administrator, Weinick was approved to join the panel. He is now on the “wheel” and eligible to be assigned as a mediator for cases entering the SDNY mediation program in the future.

In addition to the Southern District of New York, Weinick participates in several other courts’ alternative dispute resolution programs. In 2022, the Eastern District of New York, which covers Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, added Weinick to its roster of mediators. After a comprehensive review by the Nassau County Bar Association’s judiciary panel determining him to be “well qualified,” the NCBA added Weinick to its roster of mediators.

Weinick also serves as an arbitrator for Nassau County District Court. Parties in District Court can choose to have their case decided by an arbitrator, instead of a judge. The advantage is that arbitrators can typically hear and decide cases faster than judges, because of the judges’ caseload.

On his appointment to the SDNY, Weinick commented, “It’s been a lot of work to get to this point, but I’m looking forward to serving the SDNY and to accepting mediation assignments.”

If you have questions about mediation, contact one of our employment lawyers at 631-352-0050 or visit our website at http://linycemploymentlaw.com.

Weinick sworn in as mediator for the SDNY

Weinick sworn in as mediator for the SDNY

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