By: Natalie Snyder | WAMS Staff
The path to becoming a professional mediator is somewhat unique for each member of the WAMS mediation panel. In the case of Pat Duffy, the opportunity to become a mediator came from WAMS in 2001, in the form of a request that he consider being trained to join the panel. Pat practiced plaintiff’s personal injury law in Tacoma from 1975-1992, then moved his practice to Sumner in 1992. He utilized mediation in his own law practice before ever becoming a mediator.
“Pat Duffy had been a WAMS client for many years, so the staff and mediators at WAMS had numerous opportunities to see first-hand what an exemplary lawyer and person he is. He always treated his clients, colleagues and support staff with the utmost respect and courtesy, so we hoped he would become a WAMS mediator as soon as possible,” according to WAMS President and House Counsel, Diane McGaha. “He’s just the kind of person you enjoy being around,” she says.
“Bringing people together” is what mediation is all about for Pat Duffy. As Pat says, “I like people, I like stories, and I’ve heard many good ones over the years. I guess that is part of my Irish heritage.” Pat got much of his professional inspiration from his father, a family doctor who practiced medicine for many years in Pierce County. Pat says his father encouraged him as a young man in ways that made him want to be a person who makes a difference. “I like to learn a little bit about the plaintiff and often ask about their background, family, education and work. This helps to put the person at ease, since walking into a formal office setting and meeting new people can be an intimidating experience for some.”
The challenges of the adversarial process and the different approaches taken by plaintiff and defense counsel are what keep Pat enjoying his mediation work. “I try to understand the issues and hopefully identify areas of agreement in order to resolve the dispute.” Pat’s favorite aspect of the mediation process is that “the result of a mediation is more predictable than a jury verdict.” As a mediation client himself, he also understands that “there are benefits to the clients and attorneys – one of which is minimizing the expense” of litigation.
During his off time, Pat enjoys traveling with his wife (Karen) to a warm spot to play golf. Pat and Karen have three adult daughters, Deirdre, Clare and Tory, who still live in the Puget Sound area. As an active member of the Sumner Rotary Club, Pat also enjoys being involved locally and internationally in support of schools and food programs.
Pat Duffy serves as a WAMS mediator and arbitrator with expertise in the areas of serious personal injury, employment, auto accidents and UM/UIM arbitrations.
“I like people, I like stories, and I’ve heard many good ones over the years. I guess that is part of my Irish heritage.” – Pat Duffy