It’s True: You Are Known by the Company You Keep

By: Diane McGaha, WAMS Attorney Director

The well-known title above from one of Aesop’s Fables (The Ass and His Purchaser  ) comes to mind when describing the newest members of the WAMS panel of professional neutrals.

BesanteMonte Bersante was a cardiopulmonary technologist before obtaining his law degree and joining the Davies Pearson firm in Tacoma. Monte had several excellent mentors at Davies Pearson, including Larry Levy. Monte was aware of Larry’s progression from litigator to mediator, so it’s no surprise that he chose to affiliate with WAMS as a neutral. According to Monte, “Having performed as an advocate on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants over the past 20 plus years, it became a natural transition and desire for me to enter the role as mediator where I could assist parties in finding their mutual interests to resolve their disputes.” WAMS is honored to have Monte join the company of neutrals at WAMS, where he will be mediating and arbitrating throughout the Puget Sound region.

corsiMichelle Corsi has spent her career as a litigator with the Lee Smart firm in Seattle, handling commercial matters for plaintiffs and defendants. Michelle’s interest in ADR has evolved over the years from that of advocate to neutral, as she explains: “Approaching twenty years in practice, I have accepted an invitation to join the WAMS panel to expand my practice by using my extensive litigation experience to mediate and otherwise facilitate the voluntary resolution of disputes. The WAMS panel has always exemplified a judicious commitment to resolution of legal disputes whether in arbitration or mediation. I look forward to maintaining that tradition.” There’s no question that Michelle will be an asset to the WAMS panel, particularly in Snohomish, Whatcom and King counties.


Brad Maxa has a litigation practice with Gordon Thomas Honeywell in Tacoma that emphasizes insurance coverage matters. As a result, Brad has spent a lot of time as an advocate for one party of many involved in multiple-party CD and serious personal injury disputes. Partially because of his repeated involvement in mediation of such cases by Bill Joyce and Tom Harris, Brad developed an interest in becoming a neutral. According to Brad, “As I looked to expand my mediation and arbitration practice, I wanted to be associated with the very best. I did not even consider going with any group other than WAMS.” WAMS is very pleased that Brad chose to join the club at WAMS and make himself available to mediate in Pierce and Thurston counties.

FollisJack Follis became a litigator at Anderson Hunter in Everett while Scott Holte was a member of the firm, so it’s only natural that Scott advocated for Jack to become a neutral with WAMS. Since Jack had been a WAMS client over the years, the decision to have him join the WAMS panel was logical for WAMS and for Jack. In Jack’s words, “You are known by the company you keep. That is why I have chosen to be a mediator with WAMS. Being part of such a diverse group of skilled professionals will help me to keep improving my skills.” WAMS is excited to add Jack Follis to its panel as another neutral available to clients in need of dispute resolution services in Snohomish and Whatcom counties.

The addition of Monte, Michelle, Brad and Jack to the WAMS panel in 2013 will expand the dispute resolution options available to our clients. We welcome them and hope our clients will find an opportunity to do the same in the very near future.

WAMS is pleased to welcome Kevin Hanchett

Mr. Hanchett is Of Counsel with the Seattle law firm of Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson. He started with the firm in 1988, focusing his legal practice in the area of debtor-creditor, commercial litigation and corporate financial matters. In 2005, he left the general practice of law and became in-house counsel for one of his long term clients, a real estate development company. In that capacity, he was in charge of negotiating complex acquisition contracts and the sale of developed properties to national home building companies as well as overseeing disputes and litigation associated with the real estate transactions. This combination of experiences in law and business has given Mr. Hanchett a unique perspective on problems and solutions involving corporations, financial institutions and small-business owners, in particular.

Mr. Hanchett’s primary mediation practice focus is on commercial dispute resolution of cases generally involving fiduciary relationships, financial transactions, debtor-creditor problems and potential or actual litigation and/or bankruptcy. His client emphasis as a mediator includes banks and other financial institutions, profit/non-profit corporations and their Directors, small business owners, real estate companies and developers. He is an experienced litigator in Superior and Federal courts and is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education seminars.

WAMS is pleased to Welcome Jean Magladry

magladryJean Magladry maintains an active trial practice in Bellevue Washington, where she emphasizes personal injury claims resolution involving motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability, aviation and products liability issues. She has specific experience with cases involving wrongful death and catastrophic injuries, having tried cases lasting four weeks or more. She is an Eagle member of the Washington State Association for Justice, a frequent speaker at seminars and formerly served on its Board of Directors.

The Buzz for 6/08

WAMS House Counsel, Diane McGaha, recently attended an ADR conference in Perth, Australia, where she participated in a round-table discussion of marketing for new mediators. ADR in Australia is still a relatively new concept in some ways, but in the area of mediator certification, Australia is at the forefront of the industry. Legislation is pending that would establish national certification standards for mediators to ensure a minimum level of competency for anyone practicing as a mediator. Two of the most interesting growth areas for mediation in Australia involve disputes about aboriginal rights and business transition planning for family-owned wineries.

In other news, we are pleased to announce the addition of Melody Malloy to our Seattle staff. Melody joined us in March 2008 as a hearings assistant. She gave birth to a baby girl, Saige Christine (8 lbs. 9 oz.), on May 11, 2008.

Tamara Roberts, case administrator, gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Aaron Lee (6 lbs. 15 oz.) on November 21, 2007. Congratulations!

The Buzz for 1/08

WAMS House Counsel Diane McGaha hadn’t been back to Brazil since 1974, so it was quite an adventure to return as part of a June 2007 risk assessment tour of a girls’ school sponsored by WAMS: Bahia Street ( The school was founded in Salvador, Bahia by University of Washington anthropology professor, Dr. Margaret Willson, after she had conducted a research study in the area. Through their mutual interest in Brazil, Diane and Margaret met several years ago and have worked together to further the mission of Bahia Street in a variety of ways. The Bahia Street trip provided an opportunity for Diane and other trip participants to visit the school, meet the students and gain a greater understanding of the challenges confronting everyone involved with this program in one of the poorest communities in the world. Despite erratic and limited funding, dysfunctional families who aren’t generally supportive of education for girls and facilities that can only be classified as “barely habitable” by American standards, the Bahia Street school is achieving remarkable results. Girls who might otherwise have no opportunity for an education, much less a professional career, are being educated through college and given a meaningful, self sufficient future. With the help of WAMS and other outside funding sources, the Bahia Street school is achieving success in educating young women that has thus far been elusive elsewhere in Brazil.

In other office news, WAMS is pleased to welcome Leona Shuler and Natalie Snyder to our staff.

Leona started at WAMS in June 2007 as an office manager/paralegal. She works primarily in the Seattle office, but helps in the Tacoma office when needed. Natalie joined us in October 2007 as a case administrator/paralegal in the Seattle office.