Former Circuit Court judge joins Detroit alternative dispute resolution office JAMS


by Tom Kirvan
Legal News

Retirement didn’t last long for former Oakland County Circuit Judge Wendy Potts.

Some five months after capping a 21-year career in the judiciary, Potts  recently joined the Detroit office of JAMS, which reportedly is the largest private provider of alternative dispute resolution services in the world. JAMS, short for Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, has 28 locations around the globe, including its office at 150 West Jefferson in downtown Detroit.

Potts, who served as chief judge of the Oakland Circuit Court for six years, is part of a distinguished group of panelists for JAMS in Detroit, a list that includes former U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, former U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly, and former Miller Canfield Managing Director Clarence “Rocky” Pozza.

A University of Michigan alum, Potts will serve as a mediator in a wide variety of disputes, including business/commercial, employment, estates/probate/trusts, family law, insurance, personal injury, and professional liability.

“Judge Potts is known for her credibility and her strategic approach to managing complex cases,” said Chris Poole, JAMS president and CEO. “We’re confident that her background and experience will lend themselves well to our panel in Detroit.”

Potts served on the Oakland County Business Court since its inception in 2013 and “contributed to making that court one of the best in the state for business/commercial disputes,” according to Poole.

“From the founding of the business court to her retirement, Judge Potts engaged with those involved in business litigation about how her court could best respond to the challenges of complex litigation,” said Poole.

In her new role with JAMS, Potts already has mediated and scheduled a variety of cases, including a high stakes divorce.

“I’ve been an active member of the Michigan legal community for many years and am incredibly passionate about helping parties achieve resolution and closure,” said Potts, who earned her J.D. from Wayne State University Law School. “I view myself as a problem-solver, which is why this path to JAMS feels like the logical next step in my career.”

A Detroit native and graduate of Mumford High School, Potts served as president of the Oakland County Bar Association from 1994-95, earning an appointment to the Oakland County Probate Court bench in 1997.
Less than a year later, she accepted an appointment to the Circuit Court, subsequently winning election three times.

While serving as chief judge, Potts was instrumental in helping spearhead changes to the state’s jail overcrowding statutes. The overcrowding problem was particularly acute in Oakland County where the jail population mushroomed in the wake of the area’s economic downturn.

She also has been widely praised for her efforts to support the drug court program in Oakland County, helping lead the way for the creation of The RESTORE Foundation in 2008 as a means of providing private funding help.

For those efforts, Potts was honored by the State Bar of Michigan in 2010 with its coveted Champion of Justice Award, just one of many honors she has received from various bar associations and civic groups over the years.