MEET JUDGE McELROY

The Honorable Jeff Foster McElroy, Ret. is available to apply his skills as a distinguished neutral to help parties resolve disputes. In addition to his seven years in Taos as a general jurisdiction trial judge, he offers thirty years of experience as a lawyer in New Mexico and California. Now based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the retired judge works with parties and their attorneys to resolve disputes throughout the state of New Mexico and the Southwest -- both in-person and online. His specialty is hard to settle matters that have failed to resolve in the past.

 

His lifetime experience in the practice of law represents a strong mix of civil and criminal matters, including extensive courtroom litigation. During his long and distinguished career, he served as Assistant Attorney General, Deputy District Attorney, and legal counsel in the office of Governor Toney Anaya. He spent five years on the New Mexico Rules of Evidence Committee.

 

As Chief Judge of the New Mexico’s Eighth Judicial District (Taos, Union, and Colfax Counties), he conducted dozens of civil jury trials and resolved many civil discovery disputes and depository motions. Judge McElroy provided leadership to the New Mexico judiciary as a member of the Chief Judge’s Council. An advocate for alternative dispute resolution, he utilized settlement conferences to resolve civil matters prior to trial. The New Mexico Supreme Court appointed the judge chair of the Statewide Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission from 2016 to 2020. The Commission recognized him for his distinguished service in the field of alternative dispute resolution in 2019.

 

Since his retirement from the bench, Judge McElroy has trained in dispute resolution at the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada (Reno), the University of New Mexico School of Law, and the South Texas College of Law in Houston. The judge has been an adjunct faculty member teaching mediation to judges at the National Judicial College and given presentations on ADR at various national and state conferences. He has taken special arbitration training at the Sandra Day O’Conner School of Law in Phoenix and as a panel member of the American Arbitration Association. 

 

Judge McElroy now lives in Santa Fe and works with attorneys and their clients to resolve cases. He has served as a neutral in nearly a hundred cases. The former judge’s dispute resolution work was recognized with a 2021 appointment to be a member of the New Mexico Chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, as both an arbitrator and for settlement facilitation. He serves on the American Arbitration Association’s commercial and consumer panels as an arbitrator and mediator. He serves on the First Judicial Districts dispute resolution panel. He has been appointed judge pro temp for cases currently pending in the district courts. District judges have appointed the former judge to serve as a special master and arbitrator. Judge McElroy is available to handle all case types via video conference or in-person in New Mexico and through the Southwest.

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The story of my logo and how applies to you

 

It was a quiet Saturday morning at home in Taos. My son was having a playdate with his best friend. The quiet was shattered by the sickening screech of tires and an explosive thud of impact. A few blocks away, over at the bypass, a truck collided with a van that missed the stop sign at Gustorf and Paseo del Cañon. The collision was violent. In the van three family members died and two were seriously hurt. It became personal a short while later when the sister of my son's friend drove up frantically to take him home. His uncle was driving the van and it was his cousins who were killed.

 

A year later I attended a public meeting in Taos. It was called to consider the state highway department's proposal to install three traffic roundabouts on the busy bypass. I listened with interest when the traffic engineer explained the purpose behind a roundabout. By slowing traffic and getting vehicles to travel in a circle, in unison and in the same direction rather than at conflicting right angles to each other, violent collisions like the one that killed the cousins on a quiet Saturday morning are avoided. I've become an enthusiastic endorser of traffic circles ever since. 

 

A few years ago, I attended a mediation training for judges at the National Judicial College. The instructor asked us all to close our eyes and imagine an image that comes to mind for us when we think of meditation and then to draw it. I drew the traffic sign for a roundabout. Those in conflict are most often involved in unhelpful right angle, violent thinking heading for a crash. A goal of mediation is to get each side to slow down, take a breath, and think about their direction of travel. How can we get the disputants to start moving in the parallel lanes, heading in the same direction of travel? How can we get them to change their way of thinking so as to avoid that violent, right angled crash? Slow moving cars travelling in parallel can more easily adjust so as not to hit each other. Roundabouts have many exits. Roundabout drivers have time to adjust to the proper lane and take the exit that works best for them. It might take several trips around the circle, but eventually they come out unharmed and heading in the right direction.

 

I want the same to be true for my mediation clients. 

 

 

Hon. Jeff Foster McElroy, Ret.