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Beer: The ultimate in alternative dispute resolution

Something that has probably been known by monks for centuries: it is clear that beer has powers of alternative dispute resolution. President Obama counseled two men at odds in a “beer summit.” It was used to bring Barney and Marshall together (briefly) after a big fight in HIMYM.

In every old-time lawyer show, the lawyers on each side of a hard-fought battle would sit down at the local pub after a case. Heck, Jennifer Beer is a renowned mediator and facilitator.

So, in honor of Memorial Day weekend, where the weather is hot, the barbecue grills are cooking, and there’s some movie about a hangover (not really about a drinking hangover, as far as I can tell), I bring to you this inspirational story about working things out (courtesy of

Adam Avery and Vinnie Cilurzo, beer brewers from Boulder, Co. (home!) and Santa Rosa, Calif., respectively, each had a beer named “Salvation.” They met, became friends, and discussed the dilemma of two beers with the same name. As reasonable people, they eschewed fisticuffs and retainers, instead blending the Salvations into a better beer. And so, “Collaboration Not Litigation” was born (though not formally brewed for another five or six years).

Avery commented about the community reaction:

It’s been all positive. People really appreciate the fact that we could have sued each other but instead we kept this – our single beers both called Salvation and then we decided to do this blend.

And, of course, lawyers love it.  How can you not love something like this?  Even if, conceptually, it would mean less business:

Everybody drinks a beer together and it just seems like an easy way to – it definitely helps to solve problems.

Though, that’s not entirely true. Nowadays, lawyers are more informed about the importance of alternative dispute resolution. Most of us use mediation or arbitration from time to time. At a recent MAJ seminar, Judge Irma Raker even instructed us about the movement to mediate cases before the appellate courts. She told the audience that if one party thinks mediation might be useful, that party should call up and it would be proposed to the other side.

So be creative in solving all of your problems, whether work-related or not. And if you and I have a case together that we should work out, just remember — I prefer Yuengling.