2023 Mediator Spotlights

Attorney at Law Magazine is pleased to present its 2023 Mediator Spotlights. Following is a collection of standout mediators, all of whom have earned their Juris Doctor and started out as lawyers.
These mediators have demonstrated excellence in their profession, and we’re honored to share a spotlight on each of them.

Megan Russo, Esq.

Russo Resolution

Megan RussoMegan Russo, the owner of Russo Resolution, is a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit civil mediator and a federal court certified mediator. She mediates cases throughout Florida. Prior to becoming a mediator, she represented both plaintiffs and defendants in personal injury and first-party property damage matters.

AALM: What drew you to become a mediator?

MR: I was looking for a career change that would eliminate the daily battles of litigation and long hours in trial, as my three girls are getting older and need more of my time and emotional energy. I chose mediation because it eliminates the stressors of representing clients but provides a daily dose of challenging legal matters.

AALM: What experiences in your career have taught you the most?

MR: Making mistakes! While so painful, mistakes have been better teachers than any mentors, legal textbooks or CLEs. Whether I made a mistake in trial strategy, a blunder in arguing the law or misjudged my client’s veracity, reflecting on the mistakes pushed me to grow professionally and challenged my problem-solving skills.

Ronald E. Reed, Esq.

Reed Law Group

Ron ReedReed has practiced law throughout Florida for 40 years. From 1983-1986, he worked as an assistant state attorney in Jacksonville. From 1986-1988, he was a partner in a Jacksonville criminal defense/family law firm. From 1988-2022, he worked as a partner in several Jacksonville firms, including his own, where he handled both insurance defense matters and plaintiff’s personal injury claims.

Reed now concentrates his practice on alternative methods of dispute resolution, with a focus on resolving claims through mediation. He has tried cases from both sides of the table, as plaintiff’s counsel and defense counsel. Through his 40 years of experience, he understands and appreciates the benefits of resolving claims as quickly and early as possible.

AALM: What drew you to become a mediator?

RR: The joy and satisfaction of being a peacemaker in an otherwise contentious dispute.

AALM: What benefits do you believe mediation offers clients and attorneys alike?

RR: Certainty as to result; peace of mind that comes with certainty and reduced litigation costs.

Bob Cole, Esq.

Upchurch Watson White & Max Mediation Group

Bob Cole

Bob Cole, a Jacksonville native and Florida State University alumnus – for undergraduate and law degrees – has been a certified mediator for 13 years and has never looked back. Before becoming a dispute resolution professional, he was one of the most respected trial lawyers in the state, selected as Trial Lawyer of the Year 2008 by the Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

AALM: What drew you to become a mediator?

BC: After a 35-year active trial practice, I was ready to transition into dispute resolution. The transition has been seamless, largely due to the fact that my colleagues in the trial bar have allowed me to assist them with resolving their cases.

AALM: What benefits do you believe mediation offers clients and attorneys alike?

BC: The most important benefit of mediation is that it allows the parties and their attorneys to step outside the formal litigation process and come up with their own negotiated resolution. The most important concept in mediation is “self-determination.”

Blane McCarthy, Esq.

Miles Mediation

Blane McCarthyBlane McCarthy, the incoming Jacksonville Bar Association president, is a board-certified civil trial lawyer and a certified circuit mediator. He has mediated hundreds of personal injury, commercial, settlement conference, and probate cases.
McCarthy joined Miles Mediation in 2021 to transition to full-time mediation and help open its Jacksonville office.

AALM: What drew you to become a mediator?

BM: Growing up, I mediated between my divorced parents. I enjoy helping parties reach resolution. “Blessed are the peacemakers…”

AALM: What experiences in your career have taught you the most?

BM: My trial experience helps me credibly discuss the issues parties face if they don’t resolve.

Brett Lucas, Esq.

North Florida Mediation Center

Brett LucasBrett Lucas began as a civil trial attorney primarily in medical malpractice and product liability cases. He became a certified mediator in 1999 and opened the North Florida Mediation Center in 2008. He has mediated over 5,000 cases throughout Florida.

AALM: What drew you to become a mediator?

BL: A trial attorney’s life can be over-whelming. Between 1996-1999, I was the lead attorney on over 50 medical malpractice cases, went through a difficult divorce, had my law firm dissolve, and lost my father. Needing to rebalance, I went to Amelia Island to pray for guidance. While walking on the beach, I wondered whether I might be a good mediator. Within an hour I wrote a business plan and seven years later I opened my mediation center. The late Coach Bobby Bowden once said, “I can look back and see how God put my life together.” I can clearly say God drew me to become a mediator.

AALM: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned over your career?

BL: The importance of establishing priorities in your life. Although building a successful career is worthwhile, the value of building strong relationships is more important. By striving to be the best spouse, parent, friend and colleague, one can live a life full of significance rather than settling for success.

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