My Story — Brad Bonner
My idea to pursue a career as a professional mediator developed over a long period of time. In 1992, I joined a civil litigation practice, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in court. Some lawyers choose to take only one side. I always felt working for plaintiffs and defendants gave me a healthy perspective about what the other side was thinking. It also helped me appreciate there usually are two sides to every story.
During my successful trial practice, I started to realize a few things about the litigation process. First, I saw how emotionally taxing the lawsuits were on my clients. Even when success seemed likely, the anxiety was overwhelming. Second, lawsuits are time-consuming. Many of my clients would rather focus their time and energy on anything but their lawsuits. Finally, as most know, the financial costs are often staggering. Bottom line: I began to appreciate that the downsides to litigation far outnumber the upsides and few people ever really are satisfied.
Through this period, an increasing number of my cases ended in mediation, and most of those ended with a fair settlement. Along the way, I discovered how much my clients appreciated the experience — and results — of mediation. They were able to have their day in court, while exerting more influence over the outcome. It was empowering. It created finality and certainty. It gave them satisfaction and, ultimately, relief.
After participating in hundreds of mediations, I also learned a few things about myself. I found that my attitude, demeanor and skills are a perfect fit for mediation. I learned that finding the "sweet spot" where a dispute can settle takes good listening, understanding, persistence and, most of all, patience. In short, I fell in love with the mediation process and how it makes the lives of people better. The next step was logical.
Fast forward. I now am proud to be a professional mediator. I trained through the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law School — the nation’s top mediation school the last decade and running. I am passionate about mediation. It is not uncommon that I meet people in true despair in the morning, who look like the weight of the world has been lifted by the end of the day.
- B.A., Journalism, University of Wyoming (1987)
J.D., with honors, University of Wyoming College of Law (1992)
U.S. District Court, District of Wyoming
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Wyoming
U.S. District Court, District of Montana
U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Montana
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- Wyoming State Bar Association (elected President 2014-15)
Park County, Wyoming Bar Association
Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association
American Bar Association (Member, Dispute Resolution Section)
American Association for Justice
Association for Conflict Resolution
- Wyoming State Board of Law Examiners — (2008 to 2013)