Veteran Group Become Shareholders In Mediation Firm


In recognition of years of distinguished service as civil mediators in major litigation and commercial disputes, A. Michelle Jernigan, Richard B. Lord, Kimberly Sands and Michael B. Walls have become shareholders of the multi-state mediation firm Upchurch Watson White & Max effective January 1, 2006.


A. Michelle Jernigan, a certified mediator since 1988, has distinguished herself as a pioneer in the field, having advised the Florida Supreme Court in establishing mentorship and training rules.  She has developed specialty expertise in ERISA matters as well as NASD securities claims, and has served as a regular on the mediators training and speaking circuits.


Richard B. Lord has been with the firm since 1999, and mediates throughout Florida and the Southeast.  Certified by the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal to handle appellate matters, he mediates a broad range of commercial and personal injury cases.  He served as national mediation counsel for a Fortune 500 company, and actively mediates for the U.S. Postal Service REDRESS program.


Kimberly Sands has been a civil trial attorney for more than 20 years.  She is a frequent lecturer and consultant on issues relevant to mediation of complex civil litigation.  Recipient of the 1986 Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award, she has served as Guardian Ad Litem for children in civil, criminal and family courts.


Michael B. Walls became a certified mediator in Alabama in 1995, and following early experience as a multi-line adjuster and claims supervisor, became a partner in the defense firm of Smith, Spires and Peddy in Birmingham .  Later a mediator with Roberts & Fish, P.C., he ultimately joined Upchurch Watson White & Max in 2004, mediating a broad range of complex federal and state civil cases.  He is a fellow in the Alabama Academy of Attorney Mediators.


"We are honored and pleased to have this distinguished group of talented mediators join our shareholder ranks," said John J. Upchurch, president of the firm.  "These men and women represent the next generation of  firm leaders who will advance our work to new heights in the days and years ahead."


Established in 1996, the mediation group of Upchurch Watson White & Max is a nationally recognized leading mediation specialty firm encompassing a large and growing number of Supreme Court certified circuit civil attorney mediators with wide ranging specialties. Members of the firm serve as court-appointed and privately employed mediators, arbitrators and third-party neutral case managers, preside over private trials, and act as consultants to business and industry, designing in-house dispute resolution systems. With offices in Central and South Florida, as well as in Birmingham, Alabama , the firm mediates cases nationally and internationally.

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