DOUG SIMPSON MEDIATION | TACOMA • SEATTLE • OLYMPIA • SAN DIEGO • ONLINE
Since I was a little kid, I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of a physical test—I’ve sailed on the America’s Cup team, I fly off cliffs and soar through the clouds in my paraglider, love riding motorcycles, ski off the beaten path, and surfing. As a teenager, I tried rappelling out a third-story window, only to burn fingerprints off some of my fingers as I slid down the rope—I still have the scars. The tough thing about experience is you get the test first, and the lesson afterwards.
After I finished college, though, I decided to pursue another type of challenge and see how tough I was mentally. Law school seemed like a logical step, as my dad and grandfather were both attorneys. I’d grown up hearing about litigation at the dinner table and knew quite a bit about the ways of a courtroom by the time I could tie my shoes. And I wanted to build a business, and knew I needed to know the law to do that.
I’m not saying law school was much fun, but the mental gymnastics involved were something I relished. Debating with classmates and examining issues from all angles was a skill that came naturally to me. My girlfriend (now my wife) would roll her eyes at me when I’d practice playing devil’s advocate about darn near every decision in our life. But I see now that my professors were teaching me to view issues from both sides, to consider disputes objectively, to avoid rushing to judgment when confronted with a problem.
Maybe that made me kind of annoying whenever my wife and I needed to make a decision together (whole wheat or sourdough bread—what are the issues?), but I was learning how critical it is to analyze every angle of a problem in order to be a good attorney, and now to be a good mediator.
One thing I realized early on—you need a great deal of patience to be a mediator. Most couples or executives who come to me with problems are entrenched in their own point of view. I’ve learned that what they want most from me is to be heard, to tell their story. They’re grappling with problems that they feel are beyond their control. My goal is to reassure them that we can gain control of the situation together. Not only that, we will find a solution to the problem that will satisfy everybody involved.
I worked as an attorney for several decades, rising to partnership in two large law firms before founding my own firm. I was successful and managed extremely complicated cases involving many parties and governmental entities (one of my cases was documented in the Oscar-winning film Erin Brockovich, starring Julia Roberts). But I sat back one day and took stock of where I was in life. I have two fabulous kids, a wife I adore, a lucrative business, great friends, a big extended family—but the rub was that I didn’t have time. Time became a commodity that was too easily traded away as I rushed from boardroom to office, office to courtroom.
I decided to step off the boat and spend some time on the dock, so to speak.
A friend of mine had left the law-firm rat race a few years back and had embarked on a career as a mediator. I liked that idea. Mediation—the art of bringing warring parties to the table (or virtual online chat) to settle their dispute—was what I enjoyed most about my job. After years of watching opposing attorneys encourage litigation rather than pushing for resolution, simply to line their own pockets, I was discouraged with the legal process.
That’s when I had an “Ah-ha!” moment and decided to pack it in as an attorney and build a business as a mediator. The satisfaction I feel when I help a divorcing couple move past their anger, make decisions, and begin to heal is immeasurable. The gratification that comes from guiding business owners and governmental entities through complicated, convoluted disputes and solving their problems is really rewarding to me.
I’ve mediated cases of all types (see my areas of practice page) since 2003 and litigated cases since 1988.
I love getting to resolution. I thrive on helping people through complicated, convoluted disputes and solving problems, so they can move forward. I’m convinced it’s what I was meant to do.
Doug Simpson is one of a few certified mediators in Tacoma, Washington—and one of a few certified mediators in Seattle, Bellevue, and Olympia too. With special arrangements, he is available as a mediator in San Diego and Los Angeles also.
No matter where you are, though, he can arrange a virtual online mediation.
Mediations can take place at anyone’s attorney’s office, subject to the parties’ agreement, at a local Regus office (see locations below), or other spaces with appropriate conference rooms to accommodate the expected size of the mediation.
Doug is one of a few divorce mediators in Tacoma and Puyallup. He also is a Seattle and Bellevue divorce mediator, and practices collaborative law (civil) and collaborative divorce.
As indicated on the practice areas page, he mediates business disputes, environmental civil litigation, insurance claims and other matters also.
Regus office locations:
- Tacoma: 1201 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402
- Seattle: Columbia Tower, 701 Fifth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
- Olympia: 400 Union Ave SE Suite 200, Olympia, WA 98501
- Bellevue: Skyline Tower, 10900 NE 4th St, Bellevue, WA 98004
- San Diego: 350 10th Avenue, Suite 1000, San Diego, CA 92101