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PROMINENT US mediator David Shapiro has moved to the UK to lead a new European mediation and dispute resolution practice based in London.
The European office of US-based JAMS/Endispute, JAMS Endispute Europe, opened last week in the offices of City firm SJ Berwin & Co.
JAMS stands for the Judicial Arbitration & Mediation Services, which merged with Endispute in 1994.
JAMS/Endispute is the largest provider of mediation and alternative dispute resolution in the US. The organisation has offices in more than 30 US cities and handled over 17,000 actions last year.
In the past decade Shapiro has achieved national status in the US as a specialist in the resolution of complex, multi-billion dollar litigation.
Shapiro said JAMS Endispute Europe would specialise in multi-party-complex cases, such as product liability cases.
"We're talking about cases that involve hundreds of parties, perhaps more," he said.
"We will also specialise in cases involving disputes between companies in different countries."
Shapiro said he hoped to "introduce a new, dynamic approach to dispute resolution in the UK and continental Europe".
"In the US mediators take a pro-active role in helping parties resolve their differences," he said.
"Mediators in the US are not merely facilitators, but deal makers, whereas in the UK the experience has been primarily as facilitators. It's a difference mainly in style."
Shapiro is aiming to develop a panel of "super mediators" from around the world to work with JAMS Endispute Europe on complex cases. He said the organisation was already working with a UK lawyer accredited by the Centre for Dispute Resolution and was planning to extend the involvement of local lawyers.