Why Pari Passu?

Most mediators are happy to handle controversies across a wide range of subject matters covering nearly the entire the universe of things about which one could possibly argue. Even the relatively small subset of mediators who say they work primarily on business matters in fact work on almost any dispute that relates to a “business,” from antitrust to bankruptcy to contracts to finance to trade secrets to workplace issues. 

But M&A is different. M&A has its own technical rules, market norms, customs, practices,  lingo and sub-culture. We believe that the mediation of an M&A-related dispute has the greatest chance of success if the mediator knows something about the subject matter of the parties’ dispute. 

Pari Passu is unique in that we are one of the few firms (in fact to our knowledge the only firm) that limits its practice to helping parties resolve M&A-related controversies. In so doing we bring to bear the subject matter expertise, market knowledge and judgment accumulated over the course of more than 40 years of successful M&A deal making. Our mission is to be the leading provider of mediation services to companies and individuals needing help in resolving M&A-related disputes. 

If you need help untangling a tort claim, a boundary dispute or an employment conflict, there are many other fine mediators for the job. If, however, you require assistance in resolving a dispute relating to a merger, acquisition, divestiture, joint venture, or a control or minority investment, then Pari Passu should be your choice.

Our Name

Pari passu” is a Latin phrase that means “equal footing.” In the world of finance, the phrase is used to mean “without preference.” Both senses of our name capture the most important core values of our practice. We are committed to operating as a true neutral, treating each party to a dispute and that party’s advisors with dignity, respect, impartiality and patience, putting each on an equal footing, without preference.

Our Approach

We generally use an evaluative style of mediation because we think that it is a more effective way to resolve M&A-related disputes. In evaluative mediation, mediators draw upon their subject matter expertise and experience to help the disputants reality-test their positions based upon the facts and applicable law. We do not decide the outcome of a dispute. Rather, by helping the parties assess the strengths and weaknesses of their own positions, we assist the parties in arriving at their own mutually acceptable resolution. 

If, however, the parties prefer, we are equally comfortable using a more facilitative style of mediation in which our focus is on helping the parties to identify shared interests as a path to resolving their dispute. In facilitative mediation, the mediator is likely to be less forthcoming about her or his views of the strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ positions. 

We will discuss these possible approaches with the parties at the outset of our engagement to help them decide which mediation style is likely to be more helpful in the context of their dispute. 

“Joe is outstanding. He has a detailed grasp of domestic and international law, as well as strong business intuition that lets him advise us in a very impactful way.”
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