About Denise

Selecting a mediator involves more than relying on a resume. You may want a sense of the “person” before retaining that him or her as your mediator.

A product of public schools in Wisconsin, Denise graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois where she majored in economics.  While there, she became especially interested in what is now often referred to as “behavioral economics,” focusing on how and why people make the decisions they do, and why they often are not purely rational.

She entered the field of mediation in the mid 1980’s while the field was still in its infancy, after graduate school but before becoming a lawyer. Working at a consulting firm for state and federal agencies, she realized that most of her work was ending up in nicely-bound volumes rarely to be seen again. She wanted work that still focused on problem-solving, but with more of an immediate impact. So, after doing a bit of research, she hear about Professor Lawrence Susskind’s ground-breaking work at the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program (PDP) in public policy mediation, and after meeting him, offered to volunteer at the program part-time. Three months later she was promoted to a salaried position as Associate Director of the PDP program, tossed feet-first into mediating mulit-party public policy disputes.

Again, all this was before becoming a lawyer. After working with Professor Susskind to consult for the Special Master on a large fishing rights case, she saw that lawyers were often the gatekeepers to the most pressing disputes needing swift resolution. So, she decided to go to law school, graduating cum laude while serving as an Editor on the Harvard Law Review. she also clerked in Boston, Tokyo and Sydney at law firms that were — and still are — among the most respected in each city.

After 6 months at an Australian law firm, she began work as an associate at Arnold & Porter in Washington D.C. But the call of mediation never left her, and she eventually returned to mediation, this time to work the Jonathan Marks at the pioneering ADR firm of EnDispute, Inc. Her practice there focused on complex and high-stakes commercial cases in litigation and multi-party public policy negotiations for federal government agencies. EnDispute eventually merged with JAMS in the mid-1900’s and Denise moved to Los Angeles, where she now is based.

Denise worked with EnDispute (and JAMS) and, later, ADR Services, for almost 20 years before branching out on her own at MadiganADR. As a now-independent mediator she has forged closed collaborative relationships with several of her other independent colleagues.

On a more personal note: Denise loves dogs, travel and outdoor activities with good friends, including hiking and cross-country skiing. She also loves music and has sun in various choral groups throughout the years.