About John Done

done med arb website photo by Diana at Kingston Public Library Calvin ParkJohn Done is a mediator, arbitrator, ADR trainer and lawyer.

John’s qualifications include:

    • Juris Doctor (JD) (University of Western Ontario, 1981)
    • Called to the Bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada (1983)
    • Master of Laws (LLM) ( Alt’ive Dispute Resolution) (Osgoode Hall Law School, 2000)
    • Master of Public Administration (MPA) (Queen’s University, 2006)
    • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (2013)

John has experience in related sectors.  Since 1989, he has been the executive director at a community legal clinic.  John has taught alternative dispute resolution at Queen’s University Faculty of Law.  He volunteered with Bridges Across Borders Southeast Asia in Thailand and the Lao PDR, training law professors and justice officials, and helping the National University of Lao establish a governance structure for its community legal education program.  John’s skills include negotiation analysis, game theory, empirical legal techniques, and law & economics.

John is a member of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s roster of mediators for the mandatory mediation program in the civil justice system in Toronto.

John is fluent in Spanish, as well as English.  He lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, with his wife Connie and daughters Beatriz and Juanita.

John provides services in the Toronto to Ottawa corridor, and by special arrangement, in Bogotá, Colombia.

John’s Approach to Dispute Resolution

How Mediation Works

The most critical element for a successful mediation is the parties’ willingness to meet with a third-party neutral (mediator) to explore the possibility of resolving their differences. Some of the ways John makes mediation work include:

    • offering a structured process to resolve the dispute, including:
      • creating a safe place for parties to communicate with each other
      • helping parties distinguish their interests (needs, wants, concerns) from their positions
      • identifying the problem to be solved
      • identifying options for mutual gain
      • helping parties compare these options to their best alternatives to a negotiated agreement
      • crafting a sustainable and enforceable agreement
    • using approaches that differ from what the parties’ lawyers have considered, including empirical legal techniques, decision trees and approaches arising from law & economics
    • finding ways to defuse emotions and other barriers to joint problem solving.

Which ADR Process?


Mediation is a form of assisted negotiation, involving a third-party neutral who helps the parties resolve their dispute or negotiate a business relationship.  John has mediated over 100 proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Mandatory Mediation Program.  These cases have covered a broad range of civil proceedings, especially personal injury, commercial disputes and wrongful dismissal claims.


Arbitration is a method of resolving a dispute where the disputants present their case to an impartial third-party, who then makes a decision for them which resolves the conflict. This decision is usually binding.  Arbitrations are conducted like regular trials, with a judge-like arbitrator making a final decision based on the evidence presented and the law of the jurisdiction. Arbitrator’s awards are enforceable nearly worldwide, as if it were a Court judgment.  John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a London-based organization that promotes and facilitates dispute resolution.  In 2012, the Institute awarded John its highest designation, “FCIArb,” having assessed him as having the required training and experience to serve as a professional arbitrator.

Negotiating Assistance

John can work with you to prepare for negotiations.  John applies a “negotiation analysis” approach that involves assessing the parties’ underlying interests, generating options, and evaluating alternatives to a negotiated agreement.  John will help you manage the tension between cooperating, to “create value jointly,” and competing to “claim” value individually.   John is skilled in the use of “probability trees” and “game trees.”

Managing Conflict in the Workplace

John can work with employers to develop systems and processes to manage workplace conflict.  These systems provide incentives to management and employees alike to engage in inexpensive and readily available processes, and discourage unnecessary escalation.  John’s approach typically involves designing processes that follow a sequence of interests, rights and power, respectively.