Confidentiality. Quality of process. Impartiality. Conflict of interest. Competence. Those were the words scribbled across the chalkboard in a St. Cloud State University classroom March 21. In three chairs — one in the middle, two facing each other — sit a middle-aged Somali man playing a 20-something college student, a St. Cloud State communications professor playing an elderly neighbor and a Conflict Resolution Center director playing a mediator.
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Reflections on Mediation: Past, Present, and Future (3/30/15) Susan Bulfinch To reflect on the future, it is helpful to understand where we are and how we got here. This article gives an overview of mediation and suggests some directions for the future. Social media will help increase interest in the field and teaching conflict resolution at an early age may help reduce conflict at school, home and work.
The Future of Mediation (3/26/15) Chris Poole It is impossible to talk about the future, present or past of mediation without putting some sort of definition to that term. Clearly, mediation as dispute resolution has been around as long as disputes. When defined as a process that involves a designated third-party to assist in the resolution of disputes, mediation can be considered an old process.
On Tools and Their Dangers (3/26/15) David Matz We, like all professionals, focus most of our attention on making and using tools. We have jobs to do, expectations to meet, and tools are extensions of our selves. They imply a strategy for proceeding, a source of confidence that we really can make an impact on a reality that badly needs it. The negotiation literature, especially the teaching and research literature, is dominated by a focus on tools. Tools are thus essential, and also dangerous.
It’s Been A Trip and We're Not There Yet (3/26/15) Howard Bellman It seems I have reached the point in my career when those who would be historians ask for my recollections, assessment of the state of the art and vision of the future. Here is my polite reply, including my very personal description of our earliest days, some aspects of our evolution and the future as I would prefer it, not how I predict it. I would only add that I don’t know the dimensions of the learning curve we are on and I prefer to believe that despairing over unachieved goals is premature. Optimism, patience and tenacity ought to come naturally to mediators.
Book Review: The Master Agreement by Jay Bultz (3/25/15) Donald T. Saposnek The Master Agreement offers a comprehensive manual of issues, clauses and phrases for use in drafting Marital Settlement Agreements. The author capably provides a collection of relevant issues and then a multitude of options for clauses to include in your divorce and separation agreements. This book is unique, of very high quality, will save you time and elevate the quality of your drafting.
Where Have All The Idealists Gone? Long Time Passing (3/21/15) Jeffrey Krivis A recent discussion among a seasoned group of neutrals about the struggles of the professional mediator caught my eye. Some complained that the trend in litigated cases was to reduce the value of the mediator to a commodity, due to the constraints put on them by the litigants who were not process oriented.
Article on Advocacy (3/21/15) Phyllis Pollack Several months ago, Joan Kessler asked that I provide an article to be included in the ADR issue of The Advocate. Since then, I have pondered on what I should write about. For inspiration, I went to my weekly blog which I have been posting since August 31, 2006. Reviewing them, I noticed a recurring theme: preparation for mediation. At least twice a year, I posted vignettes about mediations gone badly due to a lack of preparation. Because preparing for mediation is so important, I would like to share them with you, as my contribution to this ADR issue of The Advocate.
The Future of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation as a Piece of the Puzzle (3/20/15) Peter Salem Had I written about the future of family dispute resolution in the late 1980s, when I was a young and enthusiastic child custody mediator working for a Wisconsin family court agency, I would probably have focused exclusively on mediation rather than considering the current broad spectrum of family dispute resolution (FDR) processes that I did not anticipate at the time.
Understanding Culture in Mediation (3/20/15) Ralph Steele Culture is the sum total of our birth life and continuous environment. Every person has at least three (3) distinct DNA cultural ties that they are born with. There is no pure race or culture; culture is truly a human phenomenon. The problem is some people aren’t cognizant of or don’t understand their own culture.
How Can You Get a Piece of the Action? (3/13/15) John Lande There is a significant problem with the traditional negotiation paradigm of two coherent models, positional and interest-based negotiation (or other labels for essentially the same models). This paradigm has been helpful in moving us forward in recent decades. But simply saying that something was a interest-based or positional negotiation not only doesn’t convey things clearly, but it actually can be misleading.
Access to Mediation: Future Mediators (3/12/15) Ian MacDuff Much of the focus of the previous papers in this fascinating series on the future of mediation have, understandably, been on just that topic - that is, what will, or should, mediation look like. The questions asked have been both exercises in reflection on where we’ve been (after all, the best way to anticipate the future is to understand the past), on the coherence or not of the profession, the risk of our having been distracted from the core values and value of mediation, and - in the end - questions about what mediation really is and what we as mediators really do.
Family Mediation - Preface (3/12/15) Lisa Parkinson The Children and Families Act 2014 is focusing more attention on the role of family mediation in the family justice system. Family mediators have been given greater responsibility to encourage consideration of non-court dispute resolution processes before application is made to the family court, and to assess the suitability of mediation in particular circumstances.
Future of Mediation: Uphold the Process (3/08/15) Steffi Berkowitz What's the down side of mediator self promotion over promotion of the mediation process? I think that the future of mediation could be put at-risk, or minimally compromised, by those in the profession who consciously, or unconsciously, leverage a belief system of "who knows best."
Transforming the Adversarial Ethic (3/06/15) Louise Phipps Senft This article describes the differences between transformative mediation and directive mediation and posits that transformative mediation, which assists people with quality dialogue helping them to engage in meaningful explorations of the situation and possible solutions, whether they agree or not, is exactly what corporate counsel and litigators could embrace.
Negotiation Lessons from the Book (not the Film) of Exodus (3/06/15) John Wade The recent film “Exodus: Gods and Kings” has sparked some renewed interest in the actual written record of those events.So I share some of the themes which have emerged belatedly for me in this case study extraordinaire. One of the indicators from research of an “expert” modern day negotiator is someone who takes time to reflect systematically on past negotiations and attempts to record lessons from those events.
Back to the Future of Mediation (3/05/15) Merri L. Hanson For some reason, beyond my understanding, the decades old debate continues. How should mediation be defined? The better question is, “How can the practice be applied?” And herein is the genesis of the divergent paths upon which mediation has developed in the last thirty years.
Musings on Mediators, Pizza-Makers, and Humanity (3/02/15) Henry Brown I began this article on the future of mediation practice at what I thought, reasonably enough, was the beginning. Discussing how I came to New York in 1985 to train with John Haynes on a new approach to managing disputes that at that time had not yet found its way to the United Kingdom where I practised as a solicitor. However, In the course of writing and reviewing this piece, it began to dawn on me that while the trip was my conscious recollection of the beginning, it was not the actual beginning of my attraction, engagement and investment in what has become a personally and professionally fulfilling career.
Mediation and the Black Belt Lawyer (3/01/15) Andrea Maia, Juliana Loss de Andrade The symbolism of the term ‘’black belt’’ may lead us in the first place to its meaning in the martial arts field, especially when you had your childhood influenced by the lessons from Mr. Miyagi and Daniel San’s hard path in Karate Kid. Comparatively, but differently from the Karate world, our corporate environment also has “black belts” who rely on knowledge, discipline and wisdom.
La Tercera Ola de los Mecanismos Alternativos de Solucion de Conflictos (3/01/15) Rafael Gonzalo Medina Rospigliosi Los Mecanismos Alternativos de Solución de Conflictos con su sigla MASC, engloban a un conjunto de procedimientos solucionadores de conflictos humanos, de manera autocompositiva, heterocompositiva o hibrida, sin utilizar la fuerza y ejecutados fuera del proceso judicial, es decir, con los MASC se crea soluciones no jurisdiccionales e inteligentes, caracterizados por ser no confrontacional, cooperativos, de autogestión y de protagonismo ciudadano, siendo incorporados el último decenio del siglo pasado, en los sistemas de justicia, en casi toda América Latina.
Be Less Certain—and More Flexible (2/27/15) Bernard Mayer The challenge we face is how to be adaptable but still focused and effective. To meet this challenge, we need to remain clear about our fundamental purpose, to keep working on refining our skills and enhancing the range of approaches we can take to achieving those purposes, to commit to diversifying our field, and to maintain a clear hold on our values and ethical principles.
Revolution Calling (2/27/15) John Licciardello The Need For Increased Coordination Among Divorce Professionals:
The divorce experience starts early...perhaps in the therapists office and the Wednesday reading group where the decision is made...quietly... to move on. And once the papers are signed there are months of recovery, both financial and psychological, until a sense of "normal" is achieved. The whole process can take several years from start to finish, and involves a host of professionals. So it is no small surprise that the outcomes are varied and often poor.
Don't Rush (2/26/15) Christian Radu Chereji, Constantin-Adi Gavrila There is a lot of talk nowadays about the apparent failure of mediation to live up to its potential. Reports published on paper and online, presented before institutions or at various conferences, point to the relatively low number of mediation cases compared to the number of lawsuits filling the logs of the courts and then draw the inevitable conclusion that mediation has missed the opportunity of (be)coming mainstream.
Mediating Divorce Agreements: The Problems and the Potential (2/26/15) Larry Gaughan It was really exciting to be part of the divorce mediation movement when it became national around 1980. Almost everyone seemed to be aware of the problems with the adversarial system of divorce, and mediation held the promise of a process that was more personal and far less expensive and time consuming. Mediation training was mainly focused on divorce agreements, and those training courses rapidly became a major source of income for the trainers.
Ética y Profesionalismo del Mediador: Una Receta Para el Éxito Profesional (2/26/15) Josefina Rendon Hace varios años en Houston, Texas, asistí a una interesante presentación sobre acuerdos escritos y otros temas de mediación para abogados. La diferencia entre los dos exponentes me pareció tan diferente que todavía los recuerdo después de tantos años. Un exponente habló en términos de movidas, estrategias y “trucos del negocio”. El otro habló en términos de buenas prácticas y normas éticas.
Time Traveling (2/25/15) Jan Frankel Schau Litigation and mediation need to change in the future. People have new expectations about interacting with professionals, and the wise mediator will make note of these changes and incorporate these new trends in their practice.
Branding the Industry of Mediation (2/20/15) Leslie Short We were all trained to be aware of “what's in our bags” or to phrase it differently, what each person brings to the table. Then we’re told you must not bring anything to the table but the ability to listen and ask open-ended questions.
The Mediation Future (2/20/15) Tracy Allen So long as market users , i.e. the true decision makers, remain dependent on their legal counsel to select, direct and control the mediation/negotiation process, there is likely to be little advancement in public education about the importance and availability of mediation.
APR: Alternative Political Resolution (2/20/15) Alex Azarov Mediation has proven to me that adversarial litigation is an archaic way to resolve many of our conflicts. I think it's logical that we the best for the future is to use mediation to resolve the political deadlocks that are plaguing our societies, transforming democracy from the divisive popularity contest that it has become to the participatory civic engagement that so many have fought for.
Philosophy of Mediation (2/13/15) Zeno Daniel Sustac When we speak about the philosophy of mediation we inherently have to relate to the philosophy of law and the philosophy of conflict. The philosophy of mediation is a present-day subject and of interest among the specialists in the Alternative Dispute Resolution field.
We Need a Better Consensus About Negotiation Theory (2/13/15) John Lande In previous posts, I argued that there are serious problems with the general consensus on negotiation theory reflected most clearly in Getting to Yes. I described problems with the system of negotiation models, which assumes that most or all negotiations can fit into two models of highly-correlated variables (or a few variations of these models).
Ambiguity and Mediation (2/06/15) Jacques Joubert Some time ago I acted pro deo – instructed by the state but literally meaning for God – for a client who was on trial for murdering his victims with the heavy wooden handle of a pickaxe. It was a difficult case, but I learned a lot about high conflict mediation.