We hope you enjoy getting to know Joe a little more through the following questions + answers!
How long have you been doing work with Prism prior to joining the team?
I believe I have been using the Prism Group since inception but frankly it has been so long ago I can’t really remember the first time I had a mediation with Alan Jordan, but it had to be about the time he started Prism Group. That would mean 15 years at least.
What are you looking forward to contributing to the Prism Team?
I am hoping to be more than just another mediator. I would prefer to be another virtuoso mediator as are the three who are already here. I do bring a different practice area to the group. What the industry calls “wet work”. I’ve actually practiced defense under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”) since 1984 and began defending LA State Workers Compensation cases in 1987. I have also defended Jones act and Section 905(b) (vessel negligence) claims since 1984 having started my legal career with Adams and Reese in its Maritime Section.
What/how does being a part of the Prism Team add to your life?
In a word, “everything”. It is positive. It is wonderfully fulfilling, and when I have a mediation or two scheduled for the day, it’s Christmas morning again as when I was 12. I hope and do believe that that wonderful feeling will continue through the years.
What do you feel are your strengths when mediating worker’s comp cases?
At this point, what I will call “active patience”, which is listening attentively, being able to read the room and act effectively. I’ve always believed that most compensation cases should settle at some point because both parties are better off settling at that point. In my years of practice, I believe I have seen almost everything in some form, but yet there is always a twist in the facts or unique set of facts to which the law has not yet been specifically applied, that can surprise me. However, rather than frustrate me as a mediator I find that fascinating. I may not always recall where I was yesterday at a given moment, but I remember issues, disputes and strategies taken in cases that date back decades. I can draw upon those experiences and creative ways of resolution to share with parties and their attorneys to reach a present one.
What’s one “Prism”-ism or Prism “philosophy” you try to keep in mind while mediating?
Alan Jordan likes to say “focus on the relationships not the result” to get the best result. At this point, he cannot waste time and does not.
I am fond of saying (and hopefully saying this more often in the near future) that this is not rocket science but it could be bracket science that brings the agreement home. It helps to have observed and trained by one of the best.
What have you learned from the mediation business that has been helpful in navigating your own life challenges?
This is an easy one… or two: concentrated listening and active patience. Discern the problem and solve it comfortably with all cooperating.
What is your favorite way to spend your time outside of work?
Well for me this is another easy one: doing anything with my grandchildren. I have a great relationship with my three children but as I like to tell all of them I like their kids better. When able, I like hiking, fishing anywhere, crabbing on Ship Island, paddle-boarding my blow up almost anywhere there are no sharks, clay target shooting, preserve shooting at doves or quail, reading, Viking cruises, and sipping fine bourbon… unless there is finer scotch available, on my back patio, especially on Fridays.
Kathy and I have been married since May 16, 1987 and I have no problem remembering that date because if not etched into my brain, it is etched into my wedding band. We were engaged in November 1985 and I learned that apparently you can only marry Kathy in the month of May, but May 1986 did not give her sufficient time for whatever. It was perhaps the longest engagement in history. I felt it was way too much time for her to change her mind, but thankfully she did not. It was my first mediation. I lost the battle but won the war.
How many kids and where are they in life?
Kristen, my favorite daughter, is in her very low 30s, married, and has three wonderful children.
Jeffrey, 31, a PA in Birmingham married, no kids yet. (Jesuit HS)
Ryan, 28, our youngest, is married they have one child. Ryan is a steadily employed landman doing well. UL grad. (Brother Martin HS)
What are you reading and/or watching right now?
I just finished Dr Mary’s Monkey which led (at the recommendation of Dr Brobson Lutz) to On the Trail of the Assassins by former DA NOLA, Jim Garrison. Amazing and I will leave it at that. I am currently reading a book by Professor Brandt Pitre on spirituality of prayer.
I have read Band of Brothers, separate books by almost all of the band of brothers, many others by Stephen Ambrose, all of which I recommend. I am usually reading 2 or 3 at a time. Mom was an English literature teacher who gave me the reading genes. I recommend anything by Mark Twain, especially Joan of Arc, not his usual work, but of the best and which took him the longest to write. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. The movie was terrible and a waste. Don’t let that stop you from reading the book before you depart. It is a treasure box of humor. Call me anytime for more….
What famous or well-known individual would you most like to meet and have a conversation?
God. I just need a D+ to make it there eventually…
As far as humans go…Volodymyr Zelenskyy, because he basically told Vladimir… “nuts” and is currently fighting our evil dedicated enemies.
Send Joe a welcome greeting or gather some more book recommendations from him here: firstname.lastname@example.org