Mr. Ralston has been involved in dispute resolution – settlement conferences, mediations, arbitrations, or trials (jury and non-jury) – since graduation from law school in 1969. First legal position was as a law clerk for a United States District Judge who was also an extremely capable mediator (settlement judge). As a member of the federal bench, continued mediation tradition in the Western District of Missouri by initiating a settlement conference program in federal court. In 1993, decided to devote practice exclusively to alternative dispute resolution. As a law professor, courses were primarily directed to litigation and federal practice. Taught evidence, civil procedure, federal jurisdiction, environmental law, and government litigation. Voted the Outstanding Law Professor of Creighton University in 1974.
As a federal judicial officer, docket consisted mainly of civil cases for trial and pretrial processing. Presided over the whole spectrum of jury and non-jury trials throughout the Western District of Missouri, including civil rights cases, employment discrimination cases (jury and non-jury, minimum wage and overtime cases, antitrust and securities cases, products liability cases, commercial cases, and various personal injury cases. Presided over the first employment discrimination case (an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1981) tried to a jury in the Western District of Missouri in 1980.
As a trial lawyer, represented both major corporations and individuals in all types of cases, usually of a complex and substantial nature. Has frequently been engaged as an expert witness in cases involving legal or ethical standards. Has been involved as a consultant involving insurance coverage issues in major litigation, including the Courtney pharmacy litigation. Currently represents attorneys in litigation and disciplinary actions.