East Lansing mediator helps parties bridge agreement gaps

by Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Attorney Mark Hoover recently mediated a rather intense business dispute, the breakup of a closely held business. 

“The parties stormed out at the end of the day, but the next day I learned they came to a resolution on the terms we had discussed,” he says.  “It always pays for a mediator to stay on top of a case even after the parties leave in a deadlocked situation. Parties often reconsider their position after a night’s sleep.”

After many years with Fraser Trebilcock in Lansing, and with Hackney Grover Hoover and Bean, PLC, Hoover has decided to spend his final years in private practice by specializing in mediation and arbitration.

“Having practiced ‘in the trenches’ for 37 years and always having my schedule at the mercy of the court, this made sense,” he says. “Having been a defense attorney my whole career, I never had the opportunity to discuss a case candidly with a plaintiff and see the case from their perspective. And, there is a sense of satisfaction that comes from bringing my years of experience to bear by helping parties settle their dispute, thereby avoiding the rigors and anxiety associated with ongoing litigation.”

He launched his new law practice, C. Mark Hoover P.C. Mediation & Arbitration, on June 1, to handle civil mediation throughout Michigan, but with emphasis in the mid-Michigan area. While he can accommodate two- or three-party mediations at his East Lansing office, he also will travel throughout Michigan to conduct mediations off site in the offices of counsel.

Specialties include automotive negligence, no fault litigation, general liability, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, construction litigation, business litigation, and estates and trust litigation.

To demonstrate his commitment to mediation, Hoover retired from his active practice and gave up his clients. 

“My practice is now, with only a few exceptions, devoted exclusively to mediation and arbitration,” he says. “This not only has convinced local attorneys about the seriousness of my undertaking, but has virtually eliminated all conflicts of interest.”

He notes that personal injury litigation has become very expensive in terms of retention of and deposing expert and medical witnesses. 

“An early settlement before these expenses are incurred makes a lot of sense for all of the parties,” he says. 

Hoover, who has tried more than 60 jury trials, predominantly in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, and Livingston counties, enjoyed his long career in this field.

“I think because I like to meet new people, go to courthouses throughout the state, debate issues, and ultimately to see if I can vindicate my evaluation of the case – can I convince a jury to agree with me,” he says.

Named among Michigan Super Lawyers, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, and on the board of the Ingham County Bar Association.

“I enjoyed meeting attorneys with whom I would otherwise not have come into contact with as their practice areas are much different than mine,” he says. “And, I enjoyed consulting with young lawyers who were struggling to establish themselves in their chosen field.”

A frequent speaker at the Institute of Continuing Legal Education seminars on Trial Practice and No-Fault Law, and co-author of “No Fault Insurance: The Insurer's Perspective,” he has served as a board member of the Legislative Liaison for Michigan Defense Trial Counsel; editor of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Newsletter News Brief; as a panel member and hearing chairman for the Attorney Grievance Commission; and on the Board of Directors of Walnut Hills Country Club in East Lansing, where he also served as president. Involved with Legal Services of South Central Michigan, he offers pro bono mediation services through Dispute Resolution Services in Lansing.

Hoover was encouraged by his father to pursue a law career.

“I believe he thought it made sense to have a lawyer in the family – plus, I loved the intellectual challenge and was always a natural debater,” Hoover says.   

After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with an undergrad degree in economics, he went on to receive his J.D. from the University of Notre Dame.

The native of Kankakee, Ill., now makes his home in Spartan territory, in East Lansing.

“The University offers a host of cultural and sports opportunities – and you’re never too far from anywhere else in the state,” he says.

He and his wife Patty have two children, four “grand-cats,” and one grand-dog.

“We would prefer a grandchild,” he says.

His leisure pursuits include golfing, and hiking in national parks – “preferably in Grand Teton National Park, but we’ve enjoyed Zion, Bryce, Mesa Verde, and others,” he says. 
He and his wife enjoy traveling, including three trips to Paris and one to Normandy; three trips to London; a safari trip to Tanzania; a trip to Germany; and a river cruise from Amsterdam to Switzerland.

On a recent overseas jaunt, the couple drove from Cinque Terra in Italy, where they hiked between the five cities on the coast, to Switzerland – “Where we got lost because
we didn’t realize the dotted lines on the maps were actually tunnels,” he says.  “That unexpected detour turned into the most specular and scenic road trip we ever took, entirely by mistake.

“My wife would like to hike the Appalachian Trail, but only if she can find hotel accommodations every night – that probably won’t happen,” he adds with a smile.