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Father-daughter team goes into business

February 08, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

Father-daughter team goes into business

As Washington County's newest mediator/arbitrator, Daniel Moylan has learned valuable skills in that field, both as a judge and as a father.

Moylan, 63, and his daughter, Alden Lisa Moylan, recently formed the firm of Moylan and Associates Ltd., which already is operating throughout Maryland.

In addition to his experiences on the bench, Moylan and his daughter bring other, rather unique skills to the mediation field - years of give-and-take inherent in any parent-child relationship.

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"We thought about this for a long time, at least a year or two before I retired," Moylan said.

He has opted to use the knowledge and skills gained from many years as a judge of both the Washington County Circuit and District Courts.

That's in addition to experience gained as the father of Beth, Dana and Alden.

The middle daughter of Moylan and his wife, Ann, Alden is 34 and recently received her master's degree in mathematics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her undergraduate degree, also in math, was obtained at Johns Hopkins in 1985.

Recently married, Alden handles the business end of the partnership from her home office in Baltimore County. Her father's office is in his Hagerstown home and the two correspond through their computers.

They have been volunteering in Baltimore County, both for the Circuit Court and for the Baltimore City Bar Association.

As a mediator, Moylan meets with the parties with a goal of settling differences and keeping a case out of court. His daughter also sits in on the hearings.

"The cases include auto accidents, landlord-tenant disputes and a lot of family law," Moylan said.

Such cases are scheduled about 30 days before the trial date to see whether settlement is possible.

"It's informal ... there's no robe, we don't sit at a bench above them," Moylan said. "The people really participate in the process."

Alden Moylan, who has taken a 40-hour training session in mediation/arbitration, said even if people can't settle all the issues, they've been more involved in their own cases.

"They get to see that it's really their responsibility,'' she said.

The parties can have lawyers but it's not required.

Arbitration is more formal than mediation. It may result from an unsuccessful mediation attempt, Alden Moylan said.

"People want to tell their story and they want justice," she said. "They also want to get on with their lives."

In arbitration, people get a decision right away, Daniel Moylan said.

"They have less participation but the process is out of the public eye, unlike court, and that's a real attraction sometimes," he said.

The Moylan team isn't in competition with the courts, but is there to help clear crowded dockets.

The firm is paid by both sides who go into the process seeking a level playing field and quick results, Moylan said.

"I'm not considered to be in the practice of law as a mediator/arbitrator," Moylan said.

That way, he can still sit as a retired judge from time to time.

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