During his legal career, Stephen has tried to solve problems without the need for litigation. Stephen is more a negotiator than a litigator. He believes that legal representation always encompasses some form of counseling, and he incorporates this element in his capacity as an attorney by practicing preventive law to avoid reactive law. As such, Stephen assists his clients in problem solving as a means of achieving goals and resolving conflict without resorting to litigation. He is passionate about the potential mediation holds for resolving conflict at all levels.
Stephen has been involved in differing venues of law practice encompassing contracts, construction claims, real estate, landlord-tenant, natural resources, employee benefits, labor management, and employee/employer relations. He has worked on complex issues with multiple parties. He has worked with environmental groups and natural resource developers, buyers and sellers, contractors and developers, management and unions, and employers and employees. The diversity of his practice offers many opportunities for the use of Stephenís mediation skills.
In the 25 years of his law practice, Stephen has developed an expertise in alternative dispute resolution. His philosophy of mediation is an interest-based approach. Mediation is a confidential facilitative process whereby the mediator, as a neutral, assists the parties in identifying the issues, understanding their interests, creating options, and establishing criteria to evaluate alternatives with the goal of reaching an agreement that resolves the conflict without coercion. Guiding the parties to make informed decisions and appropriate resolutions of conflict is paramount to the mediation practice.
Stephen has been mediating contract, employment, real estate, commercial, construction, landlord/tenant, neighborhood disputes, land use, natural resource development and public land law issues. He has represented contractors, homeowners, developers, and has worked with engineers relating to the construction industry. In 2005, Stephen received formal mediation training from the American Arbitration Association; he is a member of the State bars for both Montana and Alaska. He has served on the Alaska Bar Fee Arbitration Board and the Alaska Bar Associationís Fee Mediation Board for the last 25 years. He is a Certified Mediator in Alaska. Stephen is a registered construction arbitrator for the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
In addition to the affiliations listed above, he is also a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution and is an active member of the ADR Section and the Environmental Law Section of the Alaska Bar Association. Stephen is an active member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and serves on the mining section speakers' committee. He is a member of the Bars of both Alaska and Montana. He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and all relevant state and federal courts in Alaska and Montana. As an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska, Southeast, he has taught courses in Natural Resources and Contracts. Stephen is an Eagle Scout.
Stephen served his community as a member of the City and Borough of Juneau Planning Commission for over three years. He has been on the Board of the local Chapter of the Red Cross. Stephen is currently the President of the Juneau Housing Trust, a non-profit affordable housing organization that constructs homes for its clients. He also sits as member of the Construction Committee for that organization. Stephen served as past President of the Boy Scouts of America's Southeast Alaska Area Council and continues to be involved with the Councilsí Eagle Scout Board of Review.
Stephen received a B.A. with honors, in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Montana in 1973. In 1980 he received his Juris Doctor from the University of Montana.