The Police and the Public: A Mediator’s Reflections
In a society where media coverage and public concern shift rapidly from one headline to another, tension surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner seems to have exceptional durability and to be spilling into numerous venues, not least the conflict between New York’s police and its mayor. What insight can mediators offer as we seek to understand, and perhaps avoid, such escalating situations in the future?
Joint Sessions: More Arrows in the Mediation Advocacy Quiver
Daniel Ben-Zvi, Caroline Vincent
While private caucuses and shuttle diplomacy successfully produce settlements, attorneys who also choose to advocate directly to their opposition in joint session are availing themselves of more arrows in the attorney’s quiver. Mediators Daniel Ben-Zvi and Caroline Vincent encourage attorneys not to overlook this valuable tool and discuss strategies to use in conjunction with joint sessions to provide the most favorable resolution for their clients.
Recovering After Conflict - Book Excerpt
When people have lived with an ongoing conflict for a while, it is often hard for them to find a new identity. Conflict often becomes a part of people and fuels their fire. After conflict, it is important to take to heal and find ways to fuel a new fire. This book excerpt discusses that process.
Benefit Vs. Purpose
My first mediation of 2015 settled based on pragmatism. It was a lemon law matter filed under California's Song Beverly Consumer Warranty Act - Civil Code Section 1792 et seq. Plaintiff purchased the vehicle from a neighbor somewhat on a whim, thinking she would use it for commuting. Unfortunately, Plaintiff found herself taking the vehicle in for repairs quite frequently- too frequently for her liking. While Plaintiff thought the vehicle to be a "lemon", the defendant manufacturer took a hard look at the repair orders and found that many of the concerns were repaired after one attempt.
Neutral Analysis and Second Opinions
Corporate counsel—under seemingly never-ending pressure to contain costs—have a wide array of dispute resolution tools available to them, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation. There are other devices, however, that merit consideration at any stage of a dispute.
“Investment Arbitration Is Now On Broadway, And The Critics Are Not Being Kind”
That was the assessment of Constantine Partasides QC, founding partner of Three Crowns, during his keynote address to the joint ITA-IEL conference. According to Mr. Partasides, there is a developing consensus among states that it is acceptable, and even virtuous, to challenge investor-state arbitration as an infringement on the rights of the public to pass laws through their democratically-elected representatives.
Mediation: Centerpiece of World Recovery
This articles examines the future of mediation as a tool for global improvement. There are a variety of venues where mediation might prove to be the only answer for entrenched conflict.
Educación y Paz Integral Sustentable y Duradera - en Espanol
Eduardo Andres Sandoval Forero
En el presente capítulo exponemos algunas ideas sobre la paz integral, su sustentabilidad y durabilidad. Abordamos la relación de la paz integral con la educación, entendida como un subsistema en el que se presentan conflictos, violencias, variedades áulicas y dinámicas de respeto y aplicación de los derechos humanos, de tolerancia, reconocimiento a las diversidades y praxis de cultura de paz.
“Serious incident” Investigator Training Hits the Spot
The Health Board South Wales asked us to train their Serious Incident Investigators. Although we know investigating inside and out, this was a new context for us that involved a lot of research and adapting to their needs. And it paid off!
U.S. Supreme Court Asked to Review Case Where Mediator Conflict Existed
The United States Supreme Court has reportedly been asked to review a federal court’s order refusing to set aside a jury’s verdict where a court-appointed mediator failed to disclose his close personal relationship with a partner at the law firm representing several of the defendants. In CEATS Inc. v. Continental Airlines, Inc., et al., No. 14-681, CEATS filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas against Continental Airlines, Ticketmaster, and a number of other corporations over the companies’ alleged use of CEATS’s technology in certain seat selection software.
The Big Irish “What If?”
A couple of years ago in January I wrote a post on likely developments in Ireland in the New Year which, if I recall correctly, had the expression “High Hopes” in the title. Those hopes related primarily to the publication of a new, comprehensive piece of legislation on mediation and the impact it might have upon the practice and profession of mediation.
Fees of the Successfully Challenged Arbitrator?
In its decision of 17.2.2014, the Austrian Supreme Court decided on a claimant’s request for reimbursement of the portion of the fees advanced to the arbitrator whom it had successfully challenged during ongoing proceedings and on his liability for frustrated costs caused by the challenge and the appointment of a new arbitrator.
Hope for The Future of Mediation Internationally
My own work has taken me into the legislatures of many of the assemblies and parliaments in the countries of the United Kingdom to train and coach members in “scrutiny skills”. I believe that many politicians do understand the real value of this training at an individual level. I believe that they wish to move away from the time-consuming, energy-depleting, morale-sapping and often futile game of positional politics. They sense that this change is what their constituents want too.
Looking to the Future: Is There Still A Place For Proactive, Early Intervention Mediation in Our Changing Field?
In the author's experience as a mediator in over 4,000 cases and in almost thirty years of working with advocates, consulting attorneys, and collaborative lawyers, she believes that all forms of mediation are valuable processes which each have their place in helping parties move forward in their conflicts. She takes no position on the "best" process, only that self-determination remains the ultimate goal of any form of mediation. She is hopeful that mediators, participants, and attorneys will re-examine the trend of late intervention, lawyer-centric mediation and bring pro-active, early mediation back as one of the important focuses of the mediation field.
The Critical Role of Mediation in Bridging the Access to Justice Gap
For more than a decade, Colorado has worked to provide access to justice (ATJ) for its indigent and modest means citizenry. Despite efforts by the bar and the courts, the state continues to struggle in its pursuit. What has been so often overlooked, however, is how mediation provides the courts and litigants an affordable, efficient option to resolving many disputes.
Everyone experiences conflict in their life so it should be no surprise that it also occurs in the workplace. However, organizational conflict theory says there are several varieties of conflicts within a given enterprise, with interpersonal being only one type. Departments have conflicts with one another, senior managements have power struggles and teams/organizations even have conflict with other teams/organizations.
Who's Running the Show?
Noted mediation thinkers such as Robert Bush and Joseph Folger write an empassioned challenge to the profession “Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination”, arguing that mediation has shifted radically away from the party self-determination which is its essence.
The Mediator as Process Designer
A mediator is a facilitator who has the skill to work around or overcome obstacles to settlement created by parties or their counsel. In particular, when negotiations have gotten the parties close to a settlement, the skilled mediator is able to keep negotiations moving even when the parties are prepared to give up.
Re-conceptualizing the Work as Something Bigger than Ourselves--Reconciliation
After toiling in this field for 30 years, I have the strong sense that the patina has worn off and the institutions we have created are fraying and unsustainable in their current manifestations. I’m in good company in this perception; however, that doesn’t mean there is no future for mediation.
Thomas-Kilmann Instrument: A Reflection on 40 Years
Many mediators have used the TKI to illustrate concepts of avoidance and collaboration. On the 40th anniversary of the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument, Ralph Kilmann reflects on what they've learned.
The Year of Arbitrator Authority
Liz Kramer at Arbitration Nation has compiled a thorough year in review of arbitration cases decided on a variety of topics in 2014. Her blog post, entitled “2014: The Year of Arbitrator Authority,” addresses state and federal court decisions on validity, formation, preemption, vacatur, and, of course, arbitrator authority.
A New Dawn for Mediation?
The Singapore International Mediation Centre (“SIMC”) was officially launched on 5 November 2014. Set up following the recommendations of a Working Group chaired by Edwin Glasgow CBE QC and George Lim SC, the SIMC will supplement the array of international dispute resolution options available in Singapore.
Ten New Year's Conflict Resolutions
If you make New Year’s resolutions, here are some “conflict resolutions” that you might want to consider for the new year and beyond.
How Do We Create Better Inventives?
Notwithstanding rules, admonitions and the fervent desire for efficient resolution of disputes, our current system of litigation creates incentives to drive up the costs of litigation. So how do we change these incentives?
Tercer artículo colectivo producto del debate en el foro Cyberweek 2014 sobre Sistemas Normativos y ODR
En casos de ODR respecto de situaciones transfronterizas, sólo tenemos las normas de Derecho Internacional Privado. Es bueno destacar que el Grupo III de la CNUDMI (Comisión de las Naciones Unidas para el Derecho Mercantil Internacional -o UNCITRAL en Inglés), está reuniéndose desde hace bastante tiempo (celebraron su 30° período de sesiones entre el 20 y el 24 de octubre pasado en Viena), a fin de elaborar un proyecto de reglamento para la solución de controversias en línea en operaciones transfronterizas de comercio electrónico.
Building Trust in Volatile Situations
The recent "Siege in Sydney" provided me with the chance to consider how the Trust Edge illustrates a workable approach even in the most volatile, life-threatening and unpredictable situations.
Wanting It Too Much
Imagine a marine layer floating over a coastal town. A family in this town is hopeful that the sun will burn the fog away so they can go to the beach and enjoy the great weather. The day seems to go on forever and the sun never comes out. The children are totally bored and expect their parents to figure out ways to keep them busy.
The Witness Statement as Disclosure
As arbitrator I often glance through the witness statements early-on in order to get a more direct “feel” for the case, its players and its history, as well as for planning purposes.
Moral Imagination Revisited via Jon Hyman
F. Peter Phillips
The recent confluence of my Conflict Transformation work with the New York Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the richly rewarding session offered by David Hoffman at the April 2014 Meeting of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section have made me increasingly aware of the moral component of non-adjudicative conflict resolution.
Mediations Are Supposed To Be Confidential... But Are They Really?
Many times a mediator has analogized mediation confidentiality to the television ad, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" to explain the sacrosanct nature of mediation confidentiality. But, are mediations really confidential? This article was reposted to ensure mediators are fully aware of this important topic.
6 Reasons You Need a Prenup
Many divorces happen because of financial problems. A prenup forces both parties to look at — and reveal — their financial picture. An open discussion about finance may help to build a firm foundation for marriage.
Police Academy IX: This Time It’s Interpersonal
The New York Peace Institute recently conducted a mediation training for the NYPD. They have kindly shared how the training went, tips and tricks for training, and some insights into the cross-over between police and mediation.
How You Go About Resolving Your Dispute Is Up To You
Michael A. Zeytoonian
One point we want to drive home with clients in this series about tiered dispute resolution clauses is that parties have the right and the need to find the right process choice. Not only do parties have options, but with good, creative advice from their lawyers, they can sometimes design the process so that it is tailored to their needs, bandwidth and the circumstances of the specific dispute.
What an 8-year-old Taught Me About Life
Playing games brings out the worst in us," normalized these feelings for me. I am not the only one who feels a little yucky during the game as the competitive spirit takes over, while, at the same time, there is no clear path to controlling the situation so as to create the best possible outcome for myself. The need to win can bring out the worst in each of us.
Najar on Dispute Management 2.0
F. Peter Phillips
Najar, his colleague Michael McIlwrath, his former colleague PD Villarreal, and others at General Electric were responsible for pounding into my head two distinctions. The first was the concept of “dispute management” rather than “dispute resolution,” and the other was “Early Dispute Resolution” rather than “Alternative Dispute Resolution.”
Non-Judicial Means of Collective Redress in Europe
S.I. Strong, Associate Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, has published a book chapter entitled Non-Judicial Means of Collective Redress in Europe in Collective Redress in Europe (Oxford University Press, anticipated 2015); University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2014-29. In her book chapter, Professor Strong analyzes large-scale arbitration and other non-judicial avenues for collective redress in Europe.
Mediation Going Forward: What Do We Know? What Can We Expect?
Donald T. Saposnek
The current complexity of our problems, at least in the U.S., is close to the point of overwhelm; for the individuals involved, for the governments that rule them, for the courts that adjudicate them, for the economic systems that support them, and because of the corrupted values that guide them.
Agatha Christie Helped Me Be A More Effective Mediator
This short article presents a technique that the author calls a "Miss Marple Moment." Through the use of parallel stories, a neutral may address attribution and perceived negative intentions, and assist participants in seeing their situation in a different light and help them reflect on their contributions to the conflict. Hopefully, it is a fun read, just like an Agatha Christie book.
Mediator Ethics and Professionalism: A Recipe for Success
I attended an interesting presentation on agreement writing and other mediation issues for advocates. One presenter talked in terms of moves, strategies, bluffs and get-away-with’s. The other talked in terms of good practice and ethical standards. Though the first mediator never advocated unethical conduct, the second struck me as a professional whose values and ethical standards were at the forefront of his practice.
Workplace Restoration Case Study
Relations between the account services team and the head of production (“Bob”) were at an all-time low. The “drama” was a distraction from business. The manager wanted people to be able to work together collaboratively as a team. She was tired of responding to complaints about Bob and wasn’t sure what to do. And she wanted a quick solution before key staff members left for vacation. So she turned to a mediator.
Retire Already! Why?
This article discusses retirement in non-traditional fields such as mediation and teaching. Should there be a set retirement age?
It Is All In Your Perspective!
The December 2014 edition of The Atlantic contains an interesting article entitled "The Real Roots of Midlife Crisis" by Jonathan Rauch. In it, he notes that mid-life crisis is not a unique reality to the United States. Rather, it is a worldwide phenomenon explained by science and more particularly the "U" or happiness curve.
The Californication of Mediation
The rise and rise of the mediator’s proposal  and other evaluative interventions by many of our number, along with the relentless demise of the joint session, are all part of a larger lurch to the right for mediation practice.
Mediator’s Proposals: God’s Gift to Mediation, or a Betrayal?
Once upon a time some 35 years ago, mediation was talked about in the United States as a tool to cure dissatisfactions with the civil justice system. The great early teachers and scholars of mediation — Frank Sanders, Christopher Moore, Leonard Riskin and others — envisioned a process focused on party autonomy that would allow disputants not merely to resolve an immediate legal problem, but to reorient their personal or business relationships into a productive path.
‘Tis the Season for Mediation
In what has become an annual tradition, here is RSI’s seasonal parody of the Twelve Day of Christmas. Enjoy!
The Future of Alternative Dispute Resolution
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Given the creativity of ADR practitioners and scholars, the best of ADR will continue to grow and expand to new areas of practice, and unheard of new ADR practice will emerge.