Michael P. Metcalf

Metcalf Mediation & Arbitration Services

10000 North Central Expressway
Suite 400
Dallas, Texas 75201


Asian Disputes, Business, Commercial, Contract, Domestic Relations, Employment, Insurance, Landlord/Tenant, Personal Injury, Real Estate

Michael P. Metcalf of the Law Offices of Michael P. Metcalf, p.c. is engaged in the practice of law that centers on the mediation and arbitration of civil disputes. He also accepts a highly select number of cases for trial. Mr. Metcalf has more than 30 years experience as a trial lawyer, which includes service as a District Judge and District Attorney. He is board-certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a trial lawyer specialist in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law.

      Education. In January 1963 Mr. Metcalf received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. In 1966, he received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston School of Law. He graduated from The Judge Advocate General's School at the University of Virginia in December 1966 and the National College of the State Judiciary in July 1976.

     Over the years Mr. Metcalf has stayed active in continuing his legal education. He is a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas. Membership is obtained by completing at least 35 hours of continuing legal education annually.  Only about 15 per cent of licensed attorneys in Texas are members of the College of the State Bar.

     Judge Metcalf received his formal training as both a professional mediator and as an arbitrator through the National Mediation Academy in Dallas, Texas. He was certified the National Mediation Academy as a mediator for both civil and family law disputes. Judge Metcalf is associated with the National Arbitration Forum and has been certified as an NAF Arbitrator.

     Government Service. Mr. Metcalf was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army in 1963. Upon graduation from law school in 1966, he served for four years in the United States Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. Upon graduation from The Judge Advocate General's School at the University of Virginia in 1966, Captain Metcalf was assigned as an assistant staff judge advocate to the 22nd Field Army Support Command at Ft. Lee, Virginia. He was transferred to the Military Assistance Advisory Group headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan (MAAG-China) in 1967.

     While stationed in Taiwan Captain Metcalf learned to speak Chinese, served as a Foreign Claims Commissioner, Trial Observer, Claims Officer, Legal Assistance Officer and advisor to the commander of MAAG-China.

     His duties included negotiating differences with the Chinese government under the then existing U.S./Chinese MAAG agreement, serving as the Official United States Trial Observer at criminal trials for U.S. Army personnel charged with violating Chinese penal laws and advisor-lecturer to law student cadets at the Military Law Department of the Chinese Political Staff College. He served as an arbitrator of disputes that arose between assigned U.S. personnel with diplomatic status and Chinese citizens. Upon completing his tour of duty with MAAG-China in 1969, Captain Metcalf was assigned to III Corps and Fort Hood at Fort Hood, Texas.

     As an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate Captain Metcalf was appointed as the Chief, Military Justice and was responsible for the oversight of all military trials, both prosecution and defense, at Fort Hood, Texas. He was responsible for supervising 10 attorneys and administering hundreds of military trials. Captain Metcalf's service to his commands was recognized by the award of two decorations, the Army Commendation Medal and the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

     Public Service. Mr. Metcalf was appointed as the District Attorney of the 69th Judicial District in February 1971 and served in that capacity until April 1975.  He was responsible for the prosecution of all felony grade cases in a six-county district until the district was reduced to four counties in 1973.

     From April 1975-1978 Mr. Metcalf served as the District Judge of the 69th Judicial District. As Judge of a constitutional court of general jurisdiction Judge Metcalf presided over thousands of civil and criminal trials. During his tenure on the bench he instituted a system of docket control designed to expedite the disposition of cases through his court.

     In 1976 while serving as District Judge of the 69th Judicial District Judge Metcalf instituted a system of alternative dispute resolution in his district. In 1976 there was no statutory authority for ADR under Texas law. Judge Metcalf, borrowing from judicially established ADR models in other jurisdictions, started a "settlement conference" system in his court. Through prompt judicial intervention, parties were given an opportunity to resolve their differences prior to trial.

     Private Law Practice.  Upon completion of his tour of duty with the U.S. Army, Mr. Metcalf began the private practice of law with the firm of Lovell, Lyle and Cobb at Dumas, Texas in 1970. He was engaged in a general civil practice with a heavy emphasis on trial work. Upon completing his term as District Judge in December 1978 Mr. Metcalf formed his own law firm.

     The Metcalf firm was engaged in a wide range of general civil litigation that included business, insurance defense, family law and personal injury trial law. He received Martindale Hubbell's highest rating (AV) in 1980 and has maintained that rating to the present. In February 1990 Mr. Metcalf joined the Law Office of Windle Turley, p.c. and focused exclusively on a civil trial practice. In 1997 he started his own firm which specializes in the mediation and arbitration of disputes as well as consultation and trial of select cases.

     Trial Practice. Mr. Metcalf has been engaged in the trial of law suits from the inception of his career. Even before being licensed as an attorney in 1966, he won the moot court competition at the University of Houston College of Law and represented his school in moot court competition arguments before the Texas Supreme Court.

     While in the U.S. Army, Captain Metcalf served as both trial counsel (prosecutor) and defense counsel in general and special courts-martial. The case's Captain Metcalf tried ranged from robbery and negligent homicide to desertion.

     Immediately upon leaving the service in 1970 Mr. Metcalf joined a law firm that was engaged in an active general civil trial practice. Business disputes, personal injury, family and corporate defense work formed the basis for an active trial practice.

     In early 1971 Mr. Metcalf was appointed as the District Attorney of the 69th judicial district. For the next four and one-half years he prosecuted all felony grade cases in a district that was larger than many of the smaller states. A full range of criminal cases which included murder, rape, robbery, forgery, securities law violations and drug prosecutions were tried before juries.

     After leaving the bench Mr. Metcalf formed a law firm and entered into an active trial practice that included general civil trials as well as some criminal defense work. The bulk of trial work included civil business disputes, family law cases involving property and custody issues and general personal injury claims.

     In 1990 Mr. Metcalf joined a major personal injury law firm in Dallas. For the next seven years he represented parties in general negligence claims, contract disputes and employment law claims. The experience gained over the years in representing injured parties or business entities with contract or other claims served to build on an already extensive background of trial experience. In 1991 Mr. Metcalf earned a dual certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in both Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law.

     Mediation Practice. Judge Metcalf was one of the judicial pioneers who recognized the need for litigants to be afforded an opportunity for alternative dispute resolution. Judge Metcalf either instituted or presided over hundreds of settlement conferences which were designed to give parties an alternative to judicial resolution.

     As a board certified trial attorney in the Dallas area, Mr. Metcalf has participated as an advocate in about 100 mediated cases. From a background of more than thirty years of trial and judicial experience with alternative dispute resolution, Mr. Metcalf started a practice in 1997 devoted to selective representation of clients needing the services of a highly skilled trial attorney with a focus on the mediation and arbitration of all types of civil disputes.

     Professional Associations and Activities.  Mr. Metcalf was certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law and Personal Injury Trial Law in 1991. He was re-certified in both specialties in 2001. He served as an officer in the 69th Judicial District Bar Association and as a member of the State Bar of Texas Insurance Trust Committee from 1979-1985.

     He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, American Bar Association, Dallas Bar Association, The College of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Metcalf is a member of the ADR section of the State Bar of Texas as well as the Dallas Bar Association. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity and Pi Chiao Law Society (Chinese).

     Reported Cases. Representative samples of reported cases Mr. Metcalf has tried include Cactus Feeders, Inc. v. Wittler 509 SW 2d 934, Shappley v. State 520 SW 2d 766, Pipgras v. Hart 832 SW 2d 360, Taylor v. Taylor, 747 SW 2d 940, Hartman v. State 507 SW 2d 553 and Scribner, et al. v. Waffle House, Inc. 976 F. Supp. 475 (N.D. Tex. 1997).

     Court Admissions. Mr. Metcalf is licensed to practice law before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas, The Texas Supreme Court, all State Courts of Texas and the Court of Military Appeals.

     Civic and Other Activities. Mr. Metcalf has served as a member of the Rotary Club in Taipei and in Texas; he is a Deacon and Elder in the Christian Church and is presently a member of Northway Christian Church.

What is mediation?  Who are mediators and what do they do?

Mediation is a term that was coined to describe a process of conflict resolution. (See RULES FOR MEDIATION)

A MEDIATOR is a neutral person who seeks to help people resolve differences by working with the parties in conflict.

The State of Texas recognized a need to have trained mediators assist parties in the "peaceable resolution of their disputes". The Texas Legislature passed a law in 1987 which codified how conflict resolution by alternative dispute resolution (ADR) would be applied in this state.

The cornerstone of all mediation is confidentiality. The Texas mediation statute provides that everything said and done in mediation is off limits at the courthouse. When parties agree to mediation, it's like calling "kings x" to any pending or proposed legal proceedings. The parties come together, normally with their attorneys, and meet under a veil of confidentiality to discuss ways to settle or resolve their differences. It is not even necessary for a law suit to be filed before the ADR law will protect the proceedings.

The parties are allowed to air their differences as fully as they desire, secure in the knowledge that whatever they or their attorney says during the mediation will not come back to haunt them at the courthouse.

How legally secure are the confidences revealed at mediation? Very secure. Texas law provides that the mediator is exempt from all legal processes. A mediator does not have to answer a subpoena. A mediator cannot testify in a proceeding at all. Positions revealed and words said while in mediation cannot be used in a court of law by an attorney, party or witness.

The whole idea behind mediation is to allow all of the parties in conflict with one another to be absolutely certain that if mediation does not succeed, then the "kings x" will remain in effect. The Judge presiding over a case cannot and will not permit mediation conversations to become a part of any court trial. Not even the Judge hearing a dispute will know what happened in the mediation.

How does mediation work - what is the process?

The parties come together at one central location and attend an opening joint session that is presided over by the mediator. The mediator does not give advice or take sides. His role is to act as a middle person and to help the parties come to a negotiated resolution to their dispute.

Opening session: The mediator explains the ADR process and then permits an open and frank statement by the parties and/or their attorneys. Each party has the opportunity to make a full and frank disclosure of their respective position. Every one is allowed to have their say if they so choose.

Private caucus: The mediator then divides the parties into separate meeting places and begins the process of trying to learn what the party or their attorney believe to be the real interests of the persons who are in dispute and what the parameters are for resolving the case.

Shuttle diplomacy: The mediator goes back and forth between the parties to bring offers of settlement and suggestions on how to narrow the differences in the dispute. Parties committed to resolving a dispute begin to narrow the gap between their opening positions with the assistance of the mediator.

When should mediation be considered?

  • When you want to hold down litigation costs
  • When you wnat a prompt resolution to a dispute
  • When a trial cannot provide the remedy you seek
  • When you want to end a dispute without destroying a relationship
  • When your dispute is private and you want it to remain private

What are the advantages of mediation?

  • It can be scheduled very quickly
  • It is inexpensive
  • It can usually be completed in one day
  • Unlike a court trial, mediation is private and confidential
  • ADR is informal and is conducted in a relaxed atmosphere compared to a trial that is formal and often filled with anxiety and trauma for the participants
  • ADR affords the parties an opportunity to fashion a creative resolution to their differences which a court of law could not provide
  • When ADR is successful, it ends the dispute

What are the disadvantages?

  • None really. Even if the dispute is not resolved the parties come away from the mediation more well informed and focused on what their range of options are
  • ADR provides the potential for a win-win situation because if you go the courthouse ultimately a decision is going to be made on who wins and who loses; ADR can and does present the opportunity to preserve a relationship

What disputes are most suitable for mediation?

Virtually all disputes lend themselves to ADR condsideration, but the following are particularly suitable for consideration:

  • complex business litigation
  • family law cases involving custody and property issues
  • employemnt discrimination cases involving gender, age and race
  • civil rights cases
  • claims of sexual harassment
  • legal and medical malpractice
  • personal injury
  • will contests and estate division
  • class action cases
10000 North Central Expressway
Suite 400
Dallas, Texas 75231

Telephone Number: 214-890-9270
Fax Number:            214-340-9836
Email:   [email protected]