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Longtime CPR Institute official Joseph T. McLaughlin passed away on Jan. 9.

McLaughlin, a former litigator and banking general counsel, was a full-time neutral when he died, a member of JAMS’ New York office.  


McLaughlin served on the CPR Institute’s board of directors for nine years and led CPR’s Executive Advisory Committee for five years. He was the chair of the organization’s Budget, Audit and Finance committee, and is credited with creating CPR’s annual fall Corporate Leadership Award dinner in 2004, a highly successful fundraiser.  He frequently served as master of ceremonies for the black-tie affairs, held each fall in New York.


Kathy Bryan, CPR’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Joe McLaughlin was a visionary, a true leader of leaders.  He had the rarest of combinations: A great mind and a huge heart.  CPR and the entire ADR community will mourn his passing.”


McLaughlin pioneered ADR use in the financial services industry.  As a neutral, he worked extensively on banking and investment issues worldwide, with a focus on the Far East in recent years.  He used his conflict resolution expertise as an arbitrator and a neutral in accountants’ liability matters, class actions, mass torts, corporate governance issues, and securities and governmental disputes.


McLaughlin rose to prominence in the legal profession as a partner and later head of litigation at Shearman & Sterling in New York.  He left the firm in 1997 after nearly 30 years to join Credit Suisse First Boston as Executive Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs for four years.  


In 2007, he became a mediator and arbitrator at JAMS.  He later joined Bingham McCutcheon’s New York office as of counsel in addition to his neutraling work.


At the CPR Institute, McLaughlin spoke at numerous organizational and public meetings on a wide variety of ADR practice topics.  They included a 2010 CPR Annual Meeting session on dispute prevention, as well as seminars on managing ADR in corporate law departments and government agencies, and using conflict resolution in deals in China.


He also was active as a judge for CPR’s annual awards program, and a member of its banking and financial services committee.

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McLaughlin was a prolific advocate for best conflict resolution practices as an academic, writer, and speaker.  He was an adjunct professor at New York’s Fordham University School of Law, where he taught domestic and international ADR. He was a visiting professor teaching international arbitration at Cornell Law School, where he graduated in 1968 with a specialization in the field in which he lectured.  He also lectured at the American Law Institute and the Practicing Law Institute.
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McLaughlin made arbitration improvement a public cause at CPR and in his personal work.  He participated in CPR Arbitration Commission rulemaking sessions and advocated for more effective and efficient use of the process for many years.

He spearheaded CPR’s public advocacy for improving the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009, still-pending legislation that restricts arbitration in consumer and employment cases.  


Nearly a decade earlier, while at Credit Suisse, McLaughlin had the company file an unusual corporate friend-of-the-Court brief in a Supreme Court employment arbitration case that advocated for ADR.  He said the processes were a necessary tool for corporate law departments.


"I was concerned that if we didn't file the brief," McLaughlin told Alternatives at the time, that the Court "wouldn't have the benefit of the practical experience we have had." See “Going Public: Credit Suisse’s ADR Progress,” 18 Alternatives 162 (September 2000).


Says Kathy Bryan, “Joe’s support of nonprofits, his love of ADR and his unparalleled intellect, analytical skills, and his gift with people all combined to make him the most powerful advocate and, later, neutral.”


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      At the November 2007 CLA Dinner Joe McLaughlin received a special award from CPR and the Board of Directors for the positive impact he has had to CPR, the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution and the legal profession.

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Before immersing himself in conflict resolution practices, McLaughlin used his litigation advocacy and skills for significant pro bono projects.  

McLaughlin opposed the death penalty, and argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  One significant case changed the standard for evaluating a defendant’s intent in a felony murder case—and overturned McLaughlin’s client’s death penalty sentence.  Cabana v. Bullock, 474 U.S. 376 (1986).


McLaughlin often focused his capital crimes’ advocacy on cases where a death sentence had been imposed against a juvenile defendant.  He filed a significant amicus brief discussing research on the operations of the human brain on behalf of eight medical and mental health organizations in the seminal case of Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), which outlawed the use of the death penalty against individuals under age 18.


A summary of McLaughlin’s death penalty work can be found at the Cornell Law School site,
here.
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McLaughlin’s advocacy skills continued to influence and educate even after he devoted his work life to full-time neutraling.
 
In 2010, Boston College’s Fulton Debating Society inaugurated its Joseph T. McLaughlin Award for Public Debate.  The award, according to BC, is presented to the debating society member “who has demonstrated a commitment to the society's public debate series and has mastered the art of arguing before large audiences.” McLaughlin, a 1965 BC graduate, was a debating champion, competing in national tournaments when he attended the school.

A Boston College web page devoted to the award and its history can be found
here.
 
He also was a periodic contributor to CPR’s Alternatives, writing on, among other things, clause drafting and the effects of U.S. Supreme Court arbitration decisions. 

Most recently, McLaughlin authored an often-requested two-part series on ADR contracting in China.  See “China's Passage: With ADR Options Increasing, Precise Contract Drafting Is Essential for Arbitration Users,” 28 Alternatives 253 (September 2010), and “Planning for Commercial Dispute Resolution: The View from the People's Republic of China,” 28 Alternatives 137 (July/August 2010).


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A memorial service has been scheduled for Jan. 28 at 11 a.m. at the Grace Church, 254 Hicks St., Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked people to send a donation to Good Shepherd Services, 305 Seventh Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10001; www.goodshepherds.org.


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