June 2002

One CPA’s Experience as a Member of the New Jersey Roster of Mediators

By Philip Zimmerman

The New Jersey Courts are friendlier to CPA mediators than other mediation forums such as many of the federal courts, CPR, and JAMS/ENDISPUTE, which use only attorneys and retired judges as mediators. Once a CPA establishes credentials as a trained and experienced mediator and is approved for the statewide roster of court mediators, she is assigned a new case approximately once a month provided she is registered to mediate in several of the counties using presumptive mediation. Once she is known as a capable mediator, she is likely to receive more assignments.

The cases I have been assigned run the gamut from a dispute over the cost of home improvements to an unpaid bank loan of more than $4 million. Most of my assignments as a civil mediator involved business transactions rather than interpretations of the law. I have yet to serve on a case where I thought knowledge of the law was more important than my training and experience as a CPA. When the case involves complicated legal issues, I request each attorney to give me a memo explaining her view of the issue in a form that I can understand.

CPAs and their clients, wherever they are located, should make greater and more productive use of mediation. As an alternative to court-ordered mediation, they may elect to use voluntary mediation forums such as the American Arbitration Association, which uses CPAs as well as attorneys for civil mediation.

Philip Zimmerman, CPA, APM, practices mediation for the courts in New Jersey and New York and is on the mediation panels of the AAA, NASD, U.S. EEOC, and IRS. He can be reached at

Philip Zimmerman, CPA, APM
Mediator and Arbitrator

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