Getting to Know Mediator & Arbitrator Jennifer Grippa
Why did you become a lawyer and a neutral?
My mother clerked for a judge and my father served the legal community, so as a child I spent a good deal of time in court as an observer. It sparked my interest in law and I began exploring a career in law as early as 7th grade. By high school, I was in a legal explorers program, and in college was in a pre-law program and volunteering/interning in several legal positions, including a local dispute resolution center. I have a passion for the law and for helping people, which naturally led me to law school and to a career as a litigator. After 16 years of litigating cases, I joined Miles as a neutral. It is the perfect way to blend my passion for helping others and my litigation expertise to help people find a way to resolve their conflicts in a conference room instead of a courtroom.
What’s your area of specialization?
As a former partner with a nationally recognized law firm, I bring a unique perspective as a Miles neutral that is formed not only by having represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad range of disputes, but I also understand outside counsel’s interests, having been in that position for many years.
What are you most proud of with respect to your career?
I am most proud of my high batting average for settling complex cases.
What does ADR look like in 10 years?
ADR has seen tremendous growth and the next decade will see even more advancement in dispute resolution. Litigants have grown weary of the financial and emotional drain of lengthy courtroom trials and they want fair and efficient ways to resolve their disputes. ADR continues to grow in popularity, with fewer and fewer cases tried to verdict. ADR is evolving and is going to bring innovative ways for parties to take control of their case and to settle their claims without the risk and expense of jurors making the decision for them.
What do you hope to accomplish through your ADR practice?
I want to continue to help parties find fair and efficient ways to reconcile their differences, salvage their business relationships, communicate with one another, and empower them to craft their own solutions that meet their unique interests.
What is your conflict resolution style/approach?
Mediating a dispute with me is not about compromise. It is about finding a way to meet the parties’ needs and interests in a way that will settle the dispute and spare them the risk, cost, stress, and distraction of a lawsuit. As a mediator, I use objectivity, active listening, creative thinking and communication techniques to break through barriers, build consensus, address emotions, and spark conversations that engage the parties in finding a way to both settle their conflict and meet their needs.
How would your clients describe you?
Clients have described me as prepared, detailed, knowledgeable on the law, professional, trustworthy, genuine, human, empathetic, and perseverant. They would say I am an excellent listener, patient, calm, good at diffusing emotions, and have a genuine way of connecting with others and helping them reconcile their differences.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Skaneateles, N.Y., a small town in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York about 30 minutes south of Syracuse. I moved to Atlanta in 2001 for the sunshine. I didn’t know a soul in Atlanta at the time, but I knew I did not want to practice law in snowy upstate NY so I took a risk and moved south by myself. I have been in Atlanta ever since.
What’s your favorite book?
I have read many wonderful books, but one that made a lasting impact on me was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. It has changed my awareness of what brings me joy and what and whom I want to surround myself with. I pour my time and passion into what brings me the most joy.
What do you like to do in your spare time? How do you unwind?
In my spare time, I most enjoy volunteering in my children’s school, skiing, reading, and traveling the world.