Ben Cunningham

Ben is a founding partner of Lakeside Mediation Center (Galton, Cunningham & Bourgeois, P.L.L.C.)   An accomplished trial attorney, mediator, and Settlement Counsel, over the past 25+ years Ben has presided as Mediator in thousands of successful mediations, nationally and internationally. Over the decades, Ben has earned the reputation as a preeminent lawyer (AV-Preeminent) and distinguished mediator (Credentialed-Distinguished Mediator, Texas Mediator Credentialing Association). Ben is also a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

Ben is available to provide services as a mediator and settlement counsel throughout Texas and the United States. In addition to his hands-on experience as a mediator, Ben is also a trainer of mediators, including the training of new mediators at the University of Texas School of Law Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution, an (occasional) visiting Adjunct Professor of ADR. For more than a decade, Ben has served as a member of the Graduate Advisory Board for the Master’s Degree program in Legal Studies and ADR Studies at Texas State University-San Marcos; guest lecturer in ADR at the University of Texas; Director and Past-President of the Austin/Travis County Dispute Resolution Center; and has provided training at the Austin Police Academy for Hostage/Crisis Negotiation. Ben is also an approved Federal Court Mediator, United States District Court-Western District of Texas. Ben is a co-author of the highly-acclaimed book, “Stories Mediators Tell” (ABA Press), and author of numerous articles on mediation and negotiation practice.

A member of the Texas Bar since 1988, Ben began his legal career with the Austin firm of Bankston, Wright & Greenhill, P.C. as a trial attorney in the firm’s commercial litigation and insurance defense sections. With Eric Galton, in 1988 Ben established the first formal ADR section in a Texas law firm. From 1991 to 1996, Ben was Of Counsel with the litigation firm of George, Donaldson & Ford, L.L.P., practicing in the areas of complex commercial litigation, tort, media, intellectual property, insurance, civil rights, environmental, real estate, and personal injury litigation and ADR. In 1996, Ben joined the firm of George & Donaldson, L.L.P. as a partner, working exclusively in a broad range of complex litigation matters. In 2000, Ben resigned his law firm partnership to form the ADR firm of Galton, Cunningham & Bourgeois, P.L.L.C. (Lakeside Mediation), maintaining an Of Counsel relationship with the firm of George & Brothers, L.L.P., representing a limited number of clients in litigation and dispute resolution matters. In early 2008, Ben resigned his Of Counsel position, limiting his practice to the arena of mediation, and representing clients as Settlement Counsel in selected cases. As an attorney, Ben has represented corporations, national and international media companies, governmental bodies, small businesses and individuals in the areas of civil litigation, arbitration, administrative law, and ADR. As a mediator, Ben has mediated matters of almost every conceivable category, and is known for his creative and innovative approaches to dispute resolution. During the past quarter-century of mediating, Ben has gained a reputation as a mediator who can tackle the complex or “garden-variety” disputes with equal enthusiasm and success, and is widely known as a mediator who can effect a settlement in difficult cases.

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  • AV-Preeminent TM, Martindale-Hubble
  • Credentialed – Distinguished Mediator, Texas Mediator Credentialing Association
  • Licensed since 1988
  • Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Founding Member, Lakeside Mediation Center
  • Member and former Director: Texas Association of Mediators
  • Frequent ADR Instructor, University of Texas School of Law Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution
  • Member, Advisory Board for ADR Graduate Programs, Texas State University
  • Adjunct Mediation Professor, Texas State University, ABA accredited program
  • Member, Association of Attorney Mediators
  • Approved Federal Court Mediator; U.S. District Court
  • American Jurisprudence Award, ADR
  • Texas Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts Advanced Mediation Training
  • United States Postal System REDRESS Advanced mediation training, 1999
  • Numerous speaking engagements, Advanced Mediation and Negotiation Advocacy presentations
  • Lecturer and writer on Ethics in Mediation
  • Co-Producer/Trainer: Preparing Clients for Mediation Video
  • Graduate of South Texas College of Law and The University of The State of New York
  • Admiral in the Texas Navy
  • Former Peace Officer (Harris County Sheriff’s Department)
  • Veteran, United States Army Vietnam (1968-1971)

Fee Schedule

  • FULL DAY CASE – $ 1600.00 per party – full day in Austin or within 100 miles
    • For mediations with 3 or more parties: $1350.00 per party
    • For mediations in-person: $1700.00 per party
  • COMPLEX AND CLASS FLSA MEDIATIONS – $3900.00 per party plus travel expenses if outside Austin
  • HALF DAY CASE – $ 800.00 per party – half day
    • For mediations in-person: $ 900.00 per party
  • FULL DAY CASE – $ 1800.00 per party – full day 100+ miles outside Austin, plus travel/lodging expenses
    FOR CASES OUTSIDE OF TEXAS – $7000.00 per party – full day plus travel expenses to be divided by the parties.

    • For mediations with 3 or more parties: $2000.00 per party
      A full day is an eight (8) hour mediation session.  All hours after 8 hours are billed at $400.00 per hour and divided equally by the parties.

Travel time shall be billed at $125.00 per hour.  Travel time, as with travel expense, shall be divided between the parties and shall be billed after the mediation session.

After a mediation or arbitration is scheduled and notices of the mediation are sent, no cancellation fee shall be charged if the mediation is cancelled FOURTEEN (14) days from the date scheduled for mediation or THIRTY (30) days from the first date scheduled for arbitration.  Such cancellation must be in writing.  If the mediation is cancelled within 14 days of the date set for mediation or 30 days of the first date set for arbitration, a cancellation fee of 50% of the daily rate per party shall be charged to each party. If the mediation is cancelled within 2 business hours of the scheduled mediation date, a full mediation fee is charged to each party.  The mediator may excuse the cancellation fee if the cancellation is due to medical reasons, court intervention, or an event beyond the parties’ control.

The daily rate charged each party includes up to one (1) hour per party for telephone conferences and reviewing pre-mediation submissions.  All reading time beyond 1 hour shall be charged to that party at $400.00 per hour and shall be billed with the expense invoice after the mediation.

The daily rate includes up to 1 hour of post-session follow-up with no additional charge.  All post-session follow-up beyond 1 hour shall be charged at $400.00 per hour and divided equally by the parties.

The Lakeside Mediation Center’s Rocket Docket Program is designed to provide an alternative means of resolving those disputes with lower amounts in controversy, which were heretofore referred to settlement week for mediation.  For those cases that meet the Rocket Docket Profile, we will offer a three-hour mediation at a reduced rate of $600 per party. The submission will be simplified, and the mediation position submissions may be made via e-mail or fax on our streamlined position statement form.  Parties with multiple cases may schedule up to three different cases on the same day in order to maximize the benefits of the Rocket Docket Program. Please note that scheduling a Rocket Docket mediation with a specific mediator does not guarantee you that mediator, but does guarantee you a Rocket Docket mediation with one of our mediators on the date you are confirmed for.

Should the parties schedule two or more days of mediation, the parties shall be responsible for the entirety of their portion of the mediation fee for all days reserved, regardless of the length of the mediation session. The cancellation or rescheduling fee described above shall apply to the fee for the total number of days reserved.

No additional fees are charged for mediations held at the Lakeside Mediation Center.  The mediator shall provide a lunch at no additional cost for all full day mediations held at Lakeside Mediation Center.  The parties shall be responsible for all facility costs for mediations not held at Lakeside Mediation Center and shall be responsible for all costs associated with lunch, food and beverages for mediations not held at Lakeside Mediation Center.

A party may request to hold a mediation date.  Such requested holds shall be honored for forty-eight (48) hours from the time of the request.  Should such date not be confirmed within 48 hours, the requested date may be given to other parties requesting the date.

Areas of Mediation Experience

All civil disputes, including commercial, business, tort, contract, employment, personal injury, technology, insurance, intellectual property, consumer/DTPA, professional liability/malpractice, entertainment, defamation, construction/real estate, environmental, probate, products liability, governmental entities, Sec. 1983 and civil rights, international commercial disputes, telecommunications, oil and gas, anti-trust, lender liability, bankruptcy, discrimination, First Amendment, media, landlord-tenant, and internal organizational disputes. Additionally, Ben is available as a settlement consultant and settlement counsel for complex disputes.