Celia Ampel, Daily Business Review
Photo credit: J. Albert Diaz, Daily Business Review
Newly retired Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Genden is already beginning his next act: serving as a mediator at Florida dispute resolution firm Salmon & Dulberg.
"I just love mediating," Genden said. "Every case has a key that can unlock it and make people think about something they hadn't considered."
Genden left the bench at the end of last year, reaching the mandatory retirement age after 24 years as a circuit judge. He most recently presided over probate cases following time in the civil and criminal divisions.
Genden also successfully mediated cases for other judges during his time on the bench, including a case about jail conditions that had been pending for more than three decades and had been in front of 26 judges. Although he had offers from law firms to return to private practice, he felt that because his record as a trial attorney who did plaintiffs and defense work, he should continue mediating to help litigants who don't want to roll the dice with a trial.
"At least you're in control of what you get or what you don't get [if you mediate]," Genden said. "And a good mediator makes people realize, 'Hey, you know what, I wanted x dollars, but this offer is 90 percent of what I wanted.'"
He joins a panel of 25 other mediators at Salmon & Dulberg, a Miami-based firm that also has offices in Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Jacksonville.
Genden's path from the bench to the dispute resolution firm led by John Salmon and Robert Dulberg is a well-trodden one. Eight other former judges work for the firm, and each of them spent more than a decade on the bench. They include former Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ronald Friedman, on the bench for 26 years; former Broward Circuit Judge Richard Eade, 25 years; and former Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marc Schumacher, 24 years.
Genden will focus on probate disputes, personal injury, commercial and construction cases, professional malpractice, partnership and real estate, according to the firm's Tuesday hiring announcement.
Although Genden considered going solo as a mediator, he said he decided it would be unfair to ask his wife to help him with all the administrative tasks that would require. He has a long relationship with Salmon and Dulberg: Salmon's father was a colleague of Genden's in the court's criminal division, and Dulberg has been asking him to join the firm for years.
Contact Celia Ampel at email@example.com. On Twitter: @CeliaAmpel