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Mourning the Passing of a Great Friend, Mentor, Lawyer and Mediator, Richard Millen

This article is excerpted from Victoria Pynchon’s blog

Richard’s Millen’s skeletal bio is attached below. It doesn’t begin to capture Richard’s colorful life, impish spirit, and fierce dedication to the practice of mediation “the way it ought to be.” It doesn’t say how many times Richard would meet with new mediators to mentor them and share the joy and sorrows of the field that had so much potential yet, he believed, failed so persistently to live up to it. I never told Richard that he was the father I adopted for the loss of my own, first to Parkinson’s and then back to the sea he loved, ashes to ocean.

I don’t think there’s a mediator in town who didn’t know and love Richard. Now, you’ll excuse the presumption, a “real” mediator at any rate. Richard, for all his storied “soulfulness” did not suffer fools gladly or at all. Nor did he cotton to separate caucus, position-based, distributive, single-issue, monetized shuttle mediation. He considered most of us lawyers benighted fools and strove mightily to treat us with compassion rather than holding us in contempt. That old cavalry soldier was never one to roast marshmallows over an open fire – he’d rather roast a few executives, attorneys, and “settlement conference” mediators instead.

The last time I saw Richard – not that long ago – he was sitting by my side at a meeting of the State Bar’s Standing Committee on ADR muttering angrily about the way we were all wasting our time on legal issues, debating for God’s sake, when we’d been given the keys to the kingdom already, keys we’d so carelessly left at home tarnishing in junk drawers. I don’t know what else to say. I hope people who knew and loved Richard will come here to share stories and say good-by and we love you without sentimentalizing him because he would have hated that. I would think Richard would have raged raged against the dying of the light except for the fact that he was pretty fed up with the lot of us toward the end.

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Victoria Pynchon

Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all… MORE >

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