Name *
Phone *

Physical Address:

104 3rd Ave NW
Suite 300
Mandan, ND 58554


Phone: (855) 908-9089



Mike is an attorney, a mediator, and an expert jury consultant. Mike graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1985. He started his career at a prominent North Dakota insurance defense firm, and eventually went on to start his own law firm specializing in plaintiff's personal injury work. As a mediator, Mike has settled over 1,200 cases. Mike organized First Court in 1989. Over the years, First Court has run hundreds of mock trials in over 40 states. Mike excels at crafting a jury research projects to provide realistic, high-quality feedback on the most important issues in a case.

On the personal side, Mike ran for the United States Senate in 2004. Mike and his wife Julie have nine children, and live on a 500-acre ranch in beautiful western North Dakota.


Will Gardner.JPG

Will graduated from North Dakota State University with a B.S. in Education and Spanish, and a minor in Computer Science. He also has an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Will joined First Court in 2004 as a Webmaster, programmer, and graphic artist. 

Will manages a team of software developers and testers, whose projects have included First Court's exclusive private trial application, Vulcan Interactive, and First Court's reporting, private trial preparation, and juror management applications.

Will is active in the community as a board member for the Mandan Soccer Club, and is an active member of his church. He enjoys playing piano and writes music.

Damon Williams - Hardware

Chris Fennen - Sales

Joe Liffrig - Marketing

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Joe graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 2011 with an officer’s commission and a B.S. in Management. He served tours of duty in San Francisco and New York, where he worked as a commercial shipping inspector and accident investigator. This work led Joe to work hand in hand with risk management and legal professionals, developing regulatory solutions to improve safety and outcomes for the industry.

This experience building consensus between adverse parties inspired Joe to seek out opportunities as a peacemaker, leading him to resign from the Coast Guard and join First Court as a mediator and marketer. Joe currently lives and works in the Denver metro area with his wife, daughter, and german shepard.

Ryan Liffrig - Operations

Kara Gardner - Operations

Sharon Jeffries - Sales

Melissa Kienzle - Operations

Interested in joining our team? Please give us a call, or email [email protected]

Our Focus: practical tools to evaluate and settle lawsuits.

Because the opinions that ultimately count the most in our civil justice system belong to the jurors, First Court has retained its focus on helping to evaluate and settle lawsuits based on the reactions of disinterested citizens. Although we work with experts in communication theory, the heart of our research and settlements has never been theory.  Instead, our process centers on real lawyers, real witnesses and real jurors.

We use our Midwest location to conduct private trials and mediations throughout the United States. In the last 28, years we have had the pleasure of working with great attorneys in some of the most urban and some of the most rural venues in the countryfrom New York City all the way to Vidalia, Louisiana.

Our Story: small mediations to nationwide consulting.


Our company began in 1989 as the first mediation organization in North Dakota. Our founder, Mike Liffrig, was convinced he could use his law degree and litigation knowledge to save time, money and stress for the people caught up in lawsuits.

We built a private courtroom in Houston in the 90s. Soon we were working with great lawyers from all over the nation. First Court has now evaluated and resolved lawsuits in 44 states and counting.

We aim to become America's most trustworthy, creative and efficient dispute resolution organization.