Professional Panel- W. Bruce Wold, Esq.
It is a healthy and refreshing demonstration of compassion and empathy when a top trial lawyer in high stakes litigation with 100 mediations nationwide spanning 20 years still gets misty eyed when recounting specific cases involving, for example, the unspeakable deaths of children victimized by faulty automotive engineering – regardless of what side he is on. Bruce Wold is such a man. He never forgets the simple dictum that a good lawyer’s most basic mission is to help people, especially the most vulnerable and helpless among us.
A veteran private airplane pilot who draws strength, clarity of mind, and perspective soaring through the skies, Wold sums up his role as mediator: “I would hope that all parties leave the process with the strong belief that the right thing happened – and that the process worked. I have observed, studied, and utilized all sorts of mediation styles and approaches, but, interestingly enough, I’ve participated in mediations where the best thing a mediator did and said was absolutely … nothing. For attorneys, you might agree, this is an enormous exercise in personal restraint, but it works when the situation calls for it. Letting the talent flow, so to speak, and merely letting the drama unfold itself toward natural and peaceful settlement is profoundly satisfying, particularly when you’ve contributed nothing more than your attentiveness and presence.”
Wold has lectured extensively to a wide variety of groups on the art of mediation, and his reputation is that of a practical, good-humored problem-solver who respects the complex relationships among the parties and uses that knowledge as a way to guide them toward conflict-free resolution.
“You really have to dispel your preconceptions at the door,” he continues. “Thorough preparation is essential, of course, but flexibility and disciplined thinking are paramount to the process. You never know when you have to shift strategy in mid-stream, so it’s vitally important to be open-minded, accommodating, flexible, and, most importantly, how to gain a sense of timing to execute these functions.”
Mr. Wold recently retired from Sedgwick, Detert, Moran and Arnold, a 350-lawyer international law firm based in San Francisco. As one of the firm's senior trial partners, he chaired the firm's 100 lawyer Complex Litigation Group. Because of his skills at working with people with differing opinions, he headed the firm's Partner Compensation Committee for several years, and was a founding partner of the Attorney Relations Committee at the firm.