Photographer and teacher Dieter Appelt began his career as an opera singer before taking up painting and, later, performance art.

Interview with a mediator

NAME:  Joshua Kadish

JOB TITLE/OCCUPATION:   Lawyer in private practice at Wyse Kadish, LLP 


EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS:   B.A., Haverford College, Haverford, PA (1973); J.D., Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA (1979)

ADDITIONAL PURSUITS & AREAS OF INTEREST:   Performance of classical and popular music.  I sing with the Bach Cantata Choir in Portland, OR, and with The Sandals, an a capella quartet;  I sing pop, blues, folk, gospel and play guitar at farmers’ market, wine bar, pubs, private parties.  I was a performing oboist and member of the Musicians Union for many years.



I studied Political Theory and Economics, which is quite typical for prelaw.  After undergrad, I briefly attended grad school at Oxford, but dropped out after a semester and pursued home remodeling and music for almost three years.  After that period in my life, which was rewarding but economically insecure and physically taxing, I was more sure about becoming a lawyer.  I have a three year law degree from Stanford, followed by a clerkship for a Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court.




My father was a law professor, so I grew up around law schools, but had no idea what the private practice of law would be like until I clerked for a firm after my first year of law school.  I had quite a bit of experience with student politics in high school and college, and was head of my college’s honor council, which is essentially a judicial body.  Working with others through political and judicial processes was great experience, because a lot of lawyering involves working and negotiating with others to meet goals.



For me, it has been the growth of mediation.  I have always been interested in nonviolent conflict resolution, which I can trace back to the Quaker college I attended.  Mediation hardly existed when I was first working, and in the old days I spent a lot of time explaining what it was to lots of potential clients and other lawyers.  But it caught on, and has grown astonishingly rapidly in the last 30 years, which is very unusual for an innately conservative institution such as the law.  I was lucky to be in on the ground floor, as mediation has been one of my core practice areas.  I mediate all sorts of family problems:  divorce, prenuptial agreements, will contests, family business disputes, and the like.


Of course, the younger generation is much more technologically oriented.  We had no computers or word processors when I started.  There was no email.  Now technology and the drive towards a paperless office dominates the practice.  Email has speeded up how we practice; people expect instant answers to many of their questions.  People are seeking the delivery of lower cost legal services over the internet.  Firms now need to maintain websites and have e-based marketing campaigns.



Given the poor economy, it’s much harder to find work now than when I started.  There are simply too many lawyers, or at least too many lawyers who need to charge hundreds of dollars per hour to stay in business.  There are not enough lawyers for underserved communities, but the underserved communities have no money for lawyers.  So we are in a difficult time.  For now, I would not advise young people to go to law school unless they can get into one of the top schools, or are extremely passionate about being lawyers and are willing to risk the high debt loads necessary to become a lawyer.  Too many new graduates are not able to find jobs and be trained by other experienced lawyers.  They are forced to open their own firms in underserved areas, and work without mentors to guide them.  It’s a difficult path, which I hope will become easier as the economy improves.



Josh practices family law, mediation, estate planning and business law with Wyse Kadish.  He has been with the firm since 1983.  Josh attended Haverford College and Stanford Law School, and has been a member of the Oregon Bar since 1980.  He is an adjunct professor at Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College, and has taught family law, negotiation, and mediation there regularly for over 20 years.  Since 2006, Josh has been named as one of Portland’s top mediation attorneys by the Portland Monthly and is consistently named as one of Oregon’s Super Lawyers and in 2011 and 2014 was named to the Best Lawyers in America list.  Josh has been recognized as a Five Star Professional for the past three years (2012–2014), and was a finalist for the 2012 Daily Journal of Commerce Leadership in Law Award.



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