From Litigation to Mediation. Member Spotlight: Patrick McPhilamy

Patrick McPhilamy is an arbitrator, mediator, and coach based in California. He earned his Master of Laws (LLM) from Cambridge University in 1983. Before this, he spent a summer at the University of Oxford through the University of Santa Clara, and at the University of London via the San Diego School of Law. As a spiritually inclined person, these experiences had an added advantage for him as they meshed very well with his Catholic values. He later returned to the United States in 1989 and worked as a litigator and trial lawyer

Early Mediation Career

During his years as a litigator and trial lawyer, Patrick  “was involved with ADR in various capacities, and always found the dynamic very interesting.” He was very fascinated with the process and “was always trying to figure out what the mediator was trying to do.” This fascination led him to the Pepperdine University, where he enrolled in a boot camp course. This experience inspired him to immerse himself “as much as possible into ADR, while still practicing litigation. Patrick started mediating for 5 years ago and mediating specifically with the courts in California for over 3.5 years. Though occasionally evaluative in his approach, he recognizes that there is more than one way to settle disputes, and considers himself more of a facilitative mediator. 

MBBI & Beyond 

Patrick McPhilamy was introduced to MBBI via a webinar on community mediation from a Nigerian and international perspective in 2020. The organization’s transformative, restorative, justice model was especially intriguing to him.

Since becoming a member, he has served in committees and sub-committees, especially those relating to the climate.

Patrick is highly multifaceted and has been involved in various dispute-resolution-related activities. He has served as a judge in international negotiation and arbitration contests, such as those in India, Singapore, and in Paris for the ICC International Centre for ADR. His diverse international background and experiences also give him great perspectives in the world of dispute settlement. He is also involved with ADR ODR International, which is based in London. In addition to this, he just recently did a webinar with Mediate Guru, the UK titled; “Can mediation save the planet?”, where the intersection of climate change and mediation was analyzed.

Lifelong Learning

According to Patrick, seeking knowledge is a never-ending journey; “Learning has been a lifelong process for me, which I enjoy immensely.” Most of his learning consists of finding ways to build bridges to peace, and a great deal of it has taken place at Harvard. He has taken the Financial Analysis for Lawyers course at the business school and is currently taking a religion course. He is also considering a Masters’s in Liberal Arts at Harvard. 

Article by
Jainaba Gaye, MBBI Writer