Fred Lauten, Former Chief Judge of 9th Circuit, Joins Upchurch Watson White & Max

MAITLAND, Fla. (May 20, 2020) -- No sooner had Frederick J. Lauten retired as chief judge for the state's 9th Judicial Circuit than he began taking steps toward his next career as a full-time mediator with Upchurch Watson White & Max. His case manager is booking mediations for this year, beginning with videoconferences but progressing to in-person conferences as the COVID-19 restrictions loosen.

Rather than seeing this as a particularly difficult time to launch a practice that is ordinarily so reliant on face-to-face communication, Mr. Lauten has embraced the Zoom videoconference platform. He regularly offers to walk attorneys who are considering mediating remotely through the process of safely and securely conducting a mediation online.   

During his 26-year career on the bench, Mr. Lauten sat in every division of the county court and in various divisions of the circuit court. He presided over the 9th Circuit's Business Court division from 2007 to 2012 and was chief judge for the circuit from 2014 to 2019.

Lauten presided over a wide variety of cases as judge, including complex civil, criminal, probate, guardian and mental health cases. Prior to serving as chief judge, he served as administrative judge in the civil and criminal divisions. He also sat as an associate judge on the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

"Fred Lauten's years on the bench as head of the 9th Circuit Business Court provided him with invaluable insights and experience in handling large, multi-party, complex commercial disputes," said Lawrence M. "Larry" Watson Jr., a founding principal of the group. "He brings all this and more to the table as a professional in mediation, arbitration or mediated case management programs. Fred will bolster the Upchurch Watson White & Max ranks as a nationally leading dispute resolution firm, and we are looking forward to a long and lasting relationship."

Over the course of his judicial career, Mr. Lauten was also deeply involved in educating fellow judges and served as dean of the Florida Judicial College, a program completed by all new judges in the state, from 2006 to 2012. He has taught many substantive and management classes to his colleagues on topics including evidence, criminal and civil law, and managing complex commercial cases.

For more information or to schedule a date for mediation, contact Mr. Lauten's case manager, Cathy McCleary, at or (407) 661-1123.

About Upchurch Watson White & Max

A nationally leading mediation specialty firm, Upchurch Watson White & Max is known for facilitating reasonable agreements to resolve complex issues. From nine offices in Florida and Alabama, state Supreme Court-certified attorney mediators with wide-ranging specialties serve as court-appointed and privately employed mediators, arbitrators, and third-party neutral case managers, implementing innovative methods of alternative dispute resolution across the country. On the web:

Media Contact:

Catherine Klasne
(386) 253-1560

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Mediator Frederick J. Lauten

Fred Lauten, a former judge and current dispute resolution professional, is a longtime resident of Central Florida.

  • Fred Lauten, Former Chief Judge of 9th Circuit, Joins Upchurch Watson White & Max

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