The dynamic between what you do as a mediator or arbitrator vis-a-vis the lawyers is very different from the dynamic of being a judge.
When you’re a judge, all eyes in the courtroom are on you. You’re the only person sitting along the wall where the judge sits, the only person sitting on a quasi-elevated throne, the only person wearing a robe, and the only person subject to appellate review.
None of those features is present in mediation and arbitration. You are sitting in a conference room in an intimate setting, very close to the litigant and lawyers. The interchange is less formal and often not transcribed. There is a human element that I really savor that is very different from being a judge.
Being a judge is a great job, but it’s very isolating. You don’t have the same involvement with human beings that you have in mediation and arbitration, and that’s a major appeal of this kind of work.