Rhodes, Rosen to start local mediation service

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

Two federal judges who will forever be associated with Detroit’s Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy case and its Grand Bargain are starting a downtown Detroit office of Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services in the spring.

Steven Rhodes

Steven Rhodes, who presided over the landmark bankruptcy case as a federal judge, will start a local JAMS office with his former colleague, Gerald Rosen, a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Michigan and a former mediator in the bankruptcy case, with Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone attorney Clarence “Rocky” Pozza.

JAMS is a nationwide and international organization that provides arbitration, mediation and other services for lawyers and parties involved in lawsuit or who are contemplating legal action.

Rhodes left the federal bench in 2015 and serves as transition manager for Detroit Public Schools through Dec. 31.

“I have been doing a little bit of mediation and arbitration since I left the bench in 2015 and I really enjoy the work and I’ve been reasonably successful in helping people resolve their issues,” Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the new position appealed to him because it offers great flexibility and it’s a way for him to provide services to the community.

Asked whether he expects to team up again with Rosen on a case, Rhodes said more complex cases will likely require multiple partners.

“I’m very excited to be going into business with him in this way. He is an outstanding mediator and an outstanding judge, as demonstrated in the Detroit case and throughout his career,” Rhodes said.

Gerald Rosen

The office is expected to open in April, Rhodes said, but its location is still being negotiated.

Rosen, nominated by President George H. W. Bush in 1989 and chief judge from 2009-15, said judicial canons prevented him from discussing private employment matters.

Sources said he will be leaving the bench after the first of the year.

Pozza was not available for comment.