As of September 2, 2008, the Minnesota Court of Appeals will refer all family court appeals for mandatory mediation (with some exceptions for cases involving, for example, domestic violence). The program was designed to decrease costs and conflict for families involved in appellate cases while increasing litigant satisfaction.

Upon the filing of a Notice of Appeal, the Court will immediately refer litigants to mediation. Mediators available to serve include a panel of 12 retired judges and/or experienced family law attorneys. Parties will pay the costs of the mediation on a sliding fee scale.

This pilot program was initiated three years ago as the result of a meeting between Judge Harriet Lansing and William Mitchell College of Law Vice Dean for Academic Programs Nancy Ver Steegh. Ver Steegh is known for her work in the area of family law and alternative dispute resolution, and serves as an Editor for the Family Law Professor Blog. The Chief Judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Edward Touissant, believes the program is here to stay, calling it a “win-win” situation.

A few other states have adopted similar programs, with a resolution rate as high as 76 percent. That’s an impressive statistic, given the adversarial mindset of litigants – especially following a trial.

We’ve seen clients benefit from the trend toward resolving family disputes through mediation.   This new mandatory appellate mediation might just result in additional justification for working with a mediator in the very early stages of litigation and avoiding unnecessary fees, costs, time and emotion.

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Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper