Engaging Conflict for Fun and Profit: Current and Emerging Career Trends in Conflict Resolution
Bob Rhudy and MACRO have given the conflict resolution field a priceless gift. Mr. Rhudy has written an exhaustive, well-researched, study on the options for getting a job as a mediator. Are there jobs existing or pending to be filled proportionate to the number of career aspirants? What are the career trends in this field? How can you get such a job and make your way into conflict resolution work?
Fairness v. Neutrality
Is it really possible to be completely neutral in a mediator’s role? Are there any circumstantial conditions, objective or subjective, for justifying a mediator’s intervention as to modify the evident or foreseen outcome in a more satisfactory way for an unpowered or oppressed party? The purpose of this paper is to analyze and reflect on ethical and moral questions involved in the mediation process, and the way they can be addressed by mediation professionals. The scope will go from basic definitions of ethics and morality to critically asking questions for fostering mediators to face this dilemma and make a personal decision in favor of a “laissez-fair, laissez-passer” stance or an “activist” one. In this paper, I am clearly advocating for the second one.
Reason or Excuse
I have been thinking about when I hear someone explaining their rationale for saying or doing something that has upset or provoked me or another person. I realize that at times it sounds like an excuse and at other times it sounds like a reason. You may ask what difference does it make?
At the ABA Dispute Resolution section spring conference, I attended a talk on mediating discovery disputes, a subject that has been of interest to me for a long time, but which should be more urgent given the difficulty traditional court processes and rules have in managing the continuing explosion of data. As Marian Riedy, who has written about the difficulties of retrieving electronic data, pointed out, the enormous costs of discovery of such data make it essential that parties cooperate in crafting agreements on the scope of discovery. Indeed, federal and state rules generally require efforts to resolve discovery issues by negotiation. That being the case, there would seem to be a place for mediators to step in and assist attorneys and parties having difficulty reaching negotiated solutions.
Party-Directed Mediation: Book Download
The third edition of Party-Directed Mediation: Facilitating Dialogue between Individuals is now on-line as a free PDF download. This controversial book explains two mediation models in depth.
Mindful Listening to Enhance Leadership Performance
I am often asked this question: how come that guerrilla fighters, paramilitary leaders and gang members sit down with you and confess to you? More often than not, I respond with a smile and a gentle shrug of the shoulders, but over the past few weeks, as I was designing a new training in effective communication, I pondered that question and wondered about the listening skills I honed in 20-plus years of conflict resolution work in hot spots across the world
Taming the Wild West of Arbitration Ethics
Kristen Blankley, Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska College of Law has authored an interesting article entitled Taming the Wild West of Arbitration Ethics, Kansas Law Review, Forthcoming. In her article, Professor Blankley examines legal ethics in the arbitral forum.
The Value of No
Fairly early in William Smithburg’s career as the CEO of Quaker, he impulsively bought Gatorade for $220 million because he liked the taste (as the story goes at least). Quaker quickly grew the Gatorade brand and shortly thereafter their $220 million purchase was roughly valued at $3 billion.
A mediator often has to deal with High Conflict people and their defensiveness, and, in the attempt to defuse the situation, the mediation often gets emotionally drawn into the conflict resolution by taking the responsibility of the outcome to be his goal. This article reminds mediators of their true purpose.
Facts, Law, and Worldview
Stuart M. Israel
We trust that judges strive for neutrality, objectivity, self-reflection, and humility. Still, sometimes being in court feels like being Nathan Detroit shooting craps with Big Jule, with dice from which Big Jule removed the spots. Big Jule remembers where the spots used to be.
Inspiration or Immunity?
Social media currently advocates people to feel free, empowered, and liberated from regrets and mistakes. This article discusses the impact that social media has on taking responsibility for one's actions. How might this impact participants in a mediation?
Questions About Being in Conflict That Have No Right to Go Away
In his wonderful poem “Sometimes” (from Everything is Waiting for You, 2007, Many Rivers Press), David Whyte refers to questions that “have no right to go away”. I really like that statement and it touched a chord in me. So, considering my fascination with the art of inquiry I thought about using Whyte’s phrase as the title and premise of this week’s blog.
It's All about the Relationship
In 2000, I decided to move away from practicing law because I got tired of fighting with opposing counsel and being labeled and treated as the "bad guy" simply because I was representing an allegedly "bad guy". It seemed that civility and professionalism among lawyers no longer existed, and I and my clients were continuously lumped together as "hated and despised" individuals.
Dallas COA Holds Cellular Network Technology Dispute is Subject to Arbitration
Texas’ Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas has affirmed a lower court’s decision stating an agreement to arbitrate existed between two cellular network technology companies. In Tecore, Inc. v. AirWalk Communications, Inc., No. 05-12-00130-CV (Dallas App. – December 4, 2013), a cellular network manufacturer, Tecore, agreed to purchase and distribute equipment manufactured by AirWalk Communications.
I Didn't Mean it That Way
It seems statements that go like, “I didn’t mean it that way” are ones we use when something we said or how we said it is misinterpreted by another person and offends her or him. Or, it may be a gesture that is misread. In either case, as a consequence of the other person’s reaction to us and the realization that our words or actions are perceived in a way that is not intended, we attempt to defend ourselves and explain what we meant. This is when we may utter phrases like, “I didn’t mean it that way”.
Mediation Feedback: Who is it For?
This article is the result of switching seats – moving from practitioner to party. Every mediation service I've worked for sends out feedback forms. Sometimes immediately after sessions, sometimes a few weeks later. This experience made me question the importance of mediation evaluation.
How Do You Keep the Parties at the Mediation Hearing Until Settlement?
This week, I presided over two hearings where the parties were in a hurry to leave. In one, the case was settled, but in our collective haste, not one of the parties or their lawyers caught the fact that the short-form settlement agreement expressed an agreement to pay $00.00. This left the Plaintiff’s lawyer concerned enough that the following day he sent an email revoking his client’s acceptance of the offer!
Mediators Beyond Borders Dialogue Team Shares Secrets of Success
Building on the success of an international partnership with the Athens based Hellenic Mediation and Arbitration Centre, members of the Mediators Beyond Borders International dialogue training team will be presenting a strategy for promoting the non-violent resolution of international conflicts.
On Being Understood
Michael P. Carbone
Continuing this month with our review of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit No. 5 is to "Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood." Rarely do I see advocates in mediation who have mastered this habit. The duty of zealous advocacy almost always prevails, and lawyers seem to be generally better at speaking than at listening.
The Subtleties of Memory
All disputes are premised on what occurred in the past, with the view of resolving matters by looking forward. We are often told not to "dwell on the past" but to "look forward" in trying to figure out how to best resolve the issues. For some participants, particular older participants, it may not be so easy to quickly look to the future.
What is Mediation?
This rant is for those (few remaining) lawyers who discourage their clients from trying mediation with the lame allegation that mediation is too “touchy-feely.”
It is hard to believe that, in this day and age, some lawyers still have such a patronizing attitude.
I've heard a number of evangelists of the mediation world talk about the seemingly limitless future of the mediation process. That future seems to depend on the public finally becoming more aware of the possibilities of mediation to resolve not only conflicts that have already worked their way through the court system, but also conflicts that have never even made it to court, or that might be unsuitable for court.
Are You Beating Around the Bush?
When we are in conflict, some of us avoid coming to the point about something we think may upset the other person. The idiom beat around (or about) the bush describes the sort of prevarication when we delay or are evasive about raising difficult things. Or, it may be we act this way when we are having challenges answering a hard question.
Is that a Threat?
A body of previous research has established important differences between resource- and value-based conflicts, particularly when it comes to effective resolutions. A new study by Kouzakova and colleagues (2014)1 of Leiden University sheds light on the motivational underpinnings of these discrepancies.
The Best Mediation Secrets
Naturally not all clients are expected to be amenable to mediate their disputes, but if given the choice, they will be fully responsible for getting on the path to the courthouse of the mediation table. The clients will be able to make an empowered decision, and attorneys can rest knowing that their clients had enough information to make the right choice for them. This author shares his views on this from the mediation world in Cape Town.
Throughout time, Intercultural Mediation in China has become the preferred method for Dispute Resolution. It preserves social peace in a country with huge extensions and diverse orography, and with a population of various ethnic origins. We shall compare the subjacent conditions with those in the Argentine Republic and propose some alternatives to implement such method as a Dispute Resolution System.
Why Your Leadership Title Means Zilch
I remember my mother making me write letters to some youth about something that I did when I was a teenager. She said to me, “You’re a leader now, other kids will be looking up to you so you need to set a good example!” I didn’t want to be a leader, I had never asked to be one. It’s not something that I had consciously signed up for. It was the day I was told to become a conscious leader.
If You and Your Lawyer Really Do Want to Negotiate…
Michael A. Zeytoonian
In every dispute a client calls me in to work to resolve, my first inquiry with the other side is to discuss the possibility of early resolution. If we can explore this option even before any litigation has been initiated, it’s even better.
A través de los tiempos, la Mediación Intercultural en China se ha convertido en un método preferido para la Resolución de Disputas, a la par de preservar la paz social en un país de grandes extensiones y disímil orografía, con población de variados orígenes étnicos. Analizamos sus condiciones subyacentes comparadas con las existentes en la República Argentina y proponemos alternativas de implementación de tal método como sistema para la Resolución de Disputas.
Revisiting Neutrality in Mediation
Rachel Fishman Green, Esq.
What is the most basic and primary characteristic of good mediation? Neutrality! Imagine asking your clients, “Why would you come here, to sit in this room and have your spouse and me gang up on you?”
Recently, talking to a very experienced mediator, we started to describe a particular practice of an attorney-mediator during one of his cases. At the end, we asked: was that mediation? Our friend told us that no, it wasn’t mediation. We asked why and a long silence fell over our table. Then he confessed that it cannot tell exactly why, but somehow he felt uncomfortable with the practices we described and certainly he would not attempt to use them during his own cases.
Mediation Skills: Non-Violent Communication and Aikido
What is the relationship between Non-Violent Communication (NVC) and Embodied Compassionate Communication or Emotional Aikido? The answer to this question begins by understanding that NVC is a language skill and does not encompass somatic training.
Financial Consumers Can Only Avoid Arbitration By Using A Credit Union
Disputing would like to invite you to check out Liz Kramer’s recent blog post entitled CFPB’s Preliminary Report: Financial Consumers Can Only Avoid Arbitration By Using A Credit Union. In her post, Ms. Kramer discusses the surprising and expected findings included in the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s 168-page preliminary results regarding consumer financial arbitration.
Sawubona, Temple and In Medias Res – My Three Words for 2014
Another year has come and went out the door. As I sit here, on the beginning of the new year, reflecting on this past year I can’t help but feel lucky to be here! There have been lots of exciting things that have happened this year (both personally and professionally) and lots of scary, painful things as well (like breaking my collarbone and getting into a fairly serious motorcycle accident).
Mediation in Hotels
The relationship between employees of different hierarchies and each of the departments that are part of the organization chart of a hotel such as Food and Beverage, Front office, Housekeeping, etc., results in that although all parts of the structure tend to say that no one in their company takes bad to anyone, if you look a little more closely, you discover behaviors they pit a sector against another by opposing interests.
Elder Divorce Mediation
Dr. Lynne C. Halem
As the remaining baby boomers turn 50 this year, we continue to see a significant increase in divorce and separation among the general population of those in that 50-plus age bracket.
DIFC Arbitration Law
On 15 December 2013, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority enacted Law No.6 of 2013 (Arbitration Amendment Law) which amended the DIFC Arbitration Law to make it clear that the DIFC Courts have the power to stay court proceedings in favour of a foreign seated arbitration.
Opening Statements by the Mediator
Arnold W. Zeman
It's important in the mediation process, irrespective of the model, for the mediator to explain how she works in an opening statement. There are two reasons for this: participants have a right to know what to expect from the mediator and how the process will unfold; and, participants have a right to make an informed decision on whether the process will be helpful to them.
AudioBlog: Animal Conflicts and Alternative Dispute Resolution
In this episode, the co-speakers will introduce listeners to the subfield within Alternative Dispute Resolution of animal related conflicts. Debra Hamilton and Gary Norman will tell you the what, where and how to include animal related conflicts in to your practice and how you can use the full range of tools available to alternative dispute resolution practitioners to assist these parties find their own solution to such conflicts.
In 1992, John Gray, Ph.D. published Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus (HarperCollins Publishing 1992) to explain why men and women have difficulty communicating with each other.
Venting Anger Feeds the Flame
Fredrike P. Bannink
Venting negative emotions is precisely what many therapists, coaches and mediators advise people to do. If followed, such advice will only make people angrier and more aggressive.
Mediator as Truthsayer
Mediation is not one monolithic technique. Mediators and mediation theorists may categorize different types of mediation techniques into different theoretical boxes, such as “facilitative”, “evaluative” and “transformational”. But the categories all seem to bleed into each other.
Online Mediation Helps Mediators Practice and Improve Their Skills
For a variety of reasons, mediators-in-training are finding it is helpful to supplement their existing training with online role-plays. Online Mediation Training participants, or those transitioning to mediation while working or studying full-time, will appreciate the ease and convenience of conducting their mediation role-plays, debriefs, and feedback online.
Positive Supervision and Intervision
Fredrike P. Bannink
Bannink’s latest publication ’Positive supervision and intervision’ is based on the solution focused paradigm for individual and group supervision sessions. Accordingly, learning is about our success stories as well as other practitioners’ success stories and much less about what did not work or went wrong which may be the traditional experience when a problem solving paradigm is used. This articles contains a description of her new book.
Breaking Bad: The Decision To Change Holiday Traditions
Breaking away from family traditions during the holiday season can be difficult. Regardless of the reason or the explanation given to your family, friends or spouse, it rarely goes well. Why is that? The fact is that traditions are traditions for a reason.
Mandela – A Titan Remembered
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With the death of Nelson Mandela, without doubt the most significant political leader in my lifetime, lots has been written about his impact not only on South Africa but also on the world. And plenty is still to be written.