ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
- December 1, 2017
Jack W. “JB” Burtch Jr.
Burtch Law PLLC
Other legal specialties: Labor and employment law, dispute resolution, Episcopal Church canon law
Birthplace: Youngstown, Ohio
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Wesleyan University; law degree, Vanderbilt Law School
Spouse: Susan T. Burtch
Children: Anson J. Burtch, Douglas R. Burtch (He’s my boss since it’s his law firm!)
Hobbies or pastimes: Photography and travel
First job as a lawyer: Associate with Hunton & Williams (1973-1980)
Fan of: Atlanta Braves
Recently read books: “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J.K. Rowling (read for the second time); “Lamy of Santa Fe” by Paul Horgan.
Career mentors: Francis V. Lowden Jr. and Paul M. Thompson.
How did you become involved in ADR? I was fascinated by the way disputes become resolved (or not) during my first years practicing labor law. Later in my career, people approached me for help in working out thorny issues. I became involved in resolving church disputes. So, eventually I moved from advocating causes as a lawyer to negotiating settlements as an advocate or dispute mediator.
You have taught law courses. Has that experience influenced the way you handle ADR cases? Yes. Through teaching, I became acquainted with various theories of negotiation, which helped me understand how to respond effectively to different tactics. I try to practice what I tell my students — that if you master the theory, you have nothing to fear from negotiation. The key is to figure out the real problem, for which you have to dig below the surface to discover the needs masked by the words.