donalee Moulton|Aug 10, 2011
For more than 20 years, Gus Richardson has worked as a civil litigation lawyer. Now he is running Nova Scotia’s first mediation and arbitration firm: ADR Private Court. “My service is really geared at the middle class — people who can’t go to court because they can’t afford it,” says Richardson.
It’s also geared to lawyers. In fact, it’s lawyers who currently make up the bulk of Richardson’s business, seeking him out on behalf of their clients. The University of Toronto graduate expects that to change as more people hear about his mediation, arbitration, and “med-arb” services. “I’m hoping that by advertising ADR Private Court lay people will [hear about] it and suggest this to their lawyer.”
The idea is a novel one in Nova Scotia, in fact, in most of Canada, but it is an approach common south of the border. “In the U.S., arbitration and mediation is big business there, and every city has firms that are solely arbitration,” says Richardson, who practised with what is now Ritch Durnford in Halifax for more than 15 years. He believes it could be big business here as well. “I want to reach out to lawyers and their clients. I’m trying to get people aware of these processes as options. There are lots of cases that could benefit from ADR.”