To Build Rapport- Laugh Together!
Well- we missed it! March 20 was International Day of Happiness. Evidently, it was created by a United Nations Resolution passed at its 118th plenary meeting on June 28, 2012, declaring March 20th of each year to be the holiday. As one might guess, the resolution was promoted by the Kingdom of Bhutan which has a Gross National Happiness Index.
The 2015-16 Global Pound Conference Series - Prospectus
Jeremy Lack, Michael McIlrath
“Shaping the Future of Dispute Resolution & Improving Access to Appropriate Justice." The goal of the Global Pound Conference (“GPC”) Series is to improve access to justice around the world by generating actionable data from stakeholders in the dispute prevention and resolution fields to facilitate greater access to appropriate dispute resolution (“ADR”) processes worldwide. Please join our efforts!
Getting on the Same Page Regarding Mediation in the Future
I agree with many other colleagues that going forward there should be a focus on public awareness, the training and licensing of mediators, but also, and maybe most importantly, the training of attorneys who will be using mediation. I say this because mediation is used when there is a dispute, so we know that litigation and mediation will almost always go hand in hand, and will therefore, almost always involve attorneys. So bear with me as I discuss the rationale for this thought process on the future of mediation and two recent observations that have led me to this conclusion.
Family Mediation In The Digital Age
Twenty-first century technology will continue to impact family life and mediation. The family mediator’s awareness of the possible positive and inflammatory influences of the internet, may be instrumental in effectively identifying and resolving the modern family’s disputes. Social media, cyber abuse, the child’s computer voice, the use of a forensic computer expert and the futuristic divorce are factors to be considered in the practice of family mediation.
Always Expect the Unexpected
As an attorney and mediator for many years, I have learned the most
important lesson for mediation: always expect the unexpected. Whether the
parties send formal, lengthy briefs, replete with numerous citations to both facts and legal authorities, or whether they simply show up at the mandated start time, there are always surprises. A good mediator must be ready to handle any situation that arises, with patience, flexibility and a good sense of humor.
Domestic Violence Finding Overrides Agreement to Mediate
A case in the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court stands as a reminder of the complexities of family mediation when domestic violence is involved. Indeed, the court found that a finding of domestic violence can trump a requirement to mediate.
Fifth Circuit Rules Arbitrator Exceeded His Authority in Contract Dispute
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held that an arbitrator exceeded his authority in a contract dispute. In PoolRe Insurance Corp. v. Organizational Strategies Inc., No. 14-20433, Organizational Strategies Inc. (“OSI”) entered into a contract with Capstone Associated Services to create a new captive insurance program.
Good Practice Framework
Universities should include mediation in their framework for handling student complaints! The formal process is long, complex and saps everyone’s time and energy; most students with complaints about staff behaviours and attitude would prefer to talk it out, in our experience.
The Value of Joint Sessions
Over the last few years, the trend in California has been not to hold joint sessions in mediation but, to conduct the entire mediation using separate sessions so that the adverse parties are never in the same room at the same time.
The Future of Mediation Careers
Barry Goldman poses that an analysis of the health of the field is looking at the current open job openings for that field--he uses this as a divining rod to look at the future of the mediation field.
The Integrity of ADR Processes and the Risks of Blurred Boundaries
Marvin E. Johnson
Historically, the three main dispute resolution methods used in the United States have been violence, avoidance, and litigation. Today, there are a variety of additional processes that can be used to foster the resolution of disputes. Many of these processes began gaining popularity in the early 1970s as a result of frustration with the varied human and financial costs associated with litigation.
How to Make Mediation Safer in Cases of High Conflict
This article considers issues of safety in mediation. Mediation involves parties in conflict, and safety should be a priority of all mediators. Mediators should be aware of both participant and mediator safety throughout the process. This article considers practical advice for all mediators to consider before, during, and after a mediation session to ensure participant and mediator safety.
The Medici Effect of Mediation
As the Danish mediator Tina Monberg has pointed out in The Butterfly Effect, chaos theory sits at many intersections: conflict and consensus; litigation and negotiation; problem and solution; public policy and private process, art and science, servant leadership and personal leadership, and others. Mediation is both a practice and a theory, cutting across negotiation and justice, practicality and academia, needs and demands.
Litigation as Violence
Litigation is an important part of the dispute resolution system and it is quite legitimate for people to use it in appropriate cases. Litigation (including negotiation and mediation conducted during litigation) often functions appropriately without causing undue violence or other harm. People usually don’t pay as much attention when things work properly and this may be the case with litigation most of the time. But too often, unnecessary injury is a by-product.
Moving from the Shadows into the Sunlight
Perhaps my biggest learning on my own journey to healing and recovery is that I have a choice at any moment, to continue to stand in a shadow of my own creation, or to change my attitude so I can move into light, trust, faith and optimism. Your attitude makes the difference.
This is kind of a chicken and egg situation. Which came first, the possibility of reconciliation or choosing to use the Collaborative process?
Courts are Limited When it Comes to Problem Solving
Michael A. Zeytoonian
Recently I represented a party in a dispute over some business equipment. This case would have been better resolved by the parties either directly communicating with each other or communicating and negotiating with each other through their lawyers. But before that could be done, one party opted to file a complaint in federal court and as a result, we were engaged in court proceedings.
Reaching Agreement on the Nile
Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan recently signed a Declaration of Principles aimed at resolving an increasingly contentious dispute over Ethiopia’s ongoing effort to build the $4.6 billion-dollar hydroelectric power plant project called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Africa’s largest. The Declaration does not seek to resolve the larger question of how the overall waters of the Nile will be shared. The fact that the Declaration was signed is an important accomplishment. I want to look closely, though, at the ten principles spelled out in the Declaration because I’m worried that some may be difficult to implement.
Juries of Their Peers
When I was in fourth grade, a few millennia ago, our teacher established a system so we could settle a lot of our own disputes. General mischief-maker, Walter, was elected judge, a decision that completely confounded our teacher, and the class was the jury. We explained our choice of Walter as judge by saying that judges always behave well, and if Walter were judge, he would have to behave better than usual. It was completely logical to us, but I’ll bet the teacher would never have seen that possibility and would have continued to discipline Walter rather than offer opportunity.
The Priming Effect of Temperature
Roaming around on the internet the other day, I stumbled across an interesting article on LiveScience.com about the effect of temperature on our psyches. Entitled, “5 Weird Ways Cold Weather Affects Your Psyche”, the author Laura Geggel discusses different studies showing that we react differently depending upon whether a room is hot or cold. While the March 11, 2015 article discusses 5 “weird ways”, three of them are pertinent to negotiations.
Bodies at Work: Moving toward Alchemy
The single most neglected truism in mediation, whether virtual or in person, is that it does not happen without bodies. We do not mediate with beings in other realms (unless we attach a very different meaning to mediation than is contemplated in this collection of articles on the future of our craft). Thus involving those with current corporeal substance, we mobilize to engage and reach toward understanding while literally standing our ground.
National Divorce Survey Yields Surprising Insights
Divorce is as popular as ever in America, with over 50% of first marriages and 70% of second marriages ending prematurely. In addition to traditional litigation couples are increasingly turning to mediation and the “do it yourself” pro se divorce process in the quest to have “successful” divorces as measured by satisfactory settlements, minimal relationship damage and reasonable cost.
Party-Directed Mediation. Another Step Towards Non-Directive Mediation
The contribution of two models is presented in this article, Party-Directed Mediation (PDM) and Negotiated Performance Appraisal (NPA) to deal with peer mediation and hierarchical mediation, respectively. Both models are especially useful for dealing with deep seated interpersonal conflict. Originally, they were used as organizational mediation models.
Gratitude For The Law
This year in the UK we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter”. Interestingly, and less well-known, this deal was mediated.
Federal Court Case Update, Filings and Firings
Following is the start of a new series on the JAMS ADR Blog, featuring short synopses of recent case rulings related to arbitration or ADR. We’re excited to share this information as we know this is an area that will be of interest to our readers and those in the legal industry.
Where Have All The Idealists Gone? Long Time Passing, Part II
Over the years, a common theme heard among litigators after a grueling case where one side loses is that there must be a better way to manage disputes. In the mid -1970s, legal scholars from around the nation came together to review ways to make the legal process more user-friendly and accessible. They concluded, among other things, that a multi-door courthouse with processes that were designed to fit the forum to the dispute might be worth considering.
How to Be a Problem-solving Superhero Without Fixing it Yourself
Years ago, a student came to my office with a problem. I was a dean at the time and I had many appointments like this in an average day. To give you a sense of what it’s like to be a dean, I’ll tell you that when I left that job to begin a new career as a conflict resolutionary, one of the good-bye gifts from my staff was a fire extinguisher “to remember the job by.”
Snap Judgments. We all make them … and how they can lead us astray! This obvious point is made in a blog posted on March 2, 2015 on the Harvard Program on Negotiation’s blog website ( entitled “How Snap Judgments Can Lead Negotiators Astray In Negotiation Conversations” ).
Looking to the Future: Complexity, Chaos, and Making Connections
Diversity matters! For mediation to develop in fresh and vibrant ways, we need to think and act creatively. Some of the best ideas come from making connections – for example, between mediation, sciences, and the arts – and through using these connections in practice. Bernie Mayer's article in the Mediation Futures series struck chords with me, with its references to complexity science, chaos, and the importance of adapting the ways we mediate to meet diverse needs, instead of expecting participants to fit in with the particular way we choose to mediate.
Disgraceful Example of Hard Bargaining in Plea Bargaining
Yesterday the AP reported that prosecutors in Nashville, Tennessee “made sterilization of women part of plea negotiations at least four times in the past five years.” The cases all seemed to involve mistreatment or neglect of children and some involved seriously mentally ill defendants.
When Man First Came Down From the Trees… He Decided to Own the Language
I am disappointed by the media’s return to the generic ‘he’ and ‘man’. What happened to respect and dignity? I certainly don’t feel respected when I’m told that ‘mankind’s first dwellings were…’ or that ‘a doctor feels he needs to…’. I feel my dignity is under attack when, on challenging this, I am told that a generic masculine is ‘understood’ to ‘include’ women, and that really I am making a silly, outdated fuss about nothing very important.
Joint Sessions: Are Lawyers Right to Hate Them?
Mention holding a joint session and you are sure to provoke an argument between mediators and teachers of mediation on one side and lawyers who represent clients in mediations on the other. That dichotomy is not wholly accurate because many mediators have also abandoned the use of joint sessions.
Family Law Arbitration Act
People who have been involved with family law are likely to have encountered mediation, especially in child-related issues. But what about arbitration?
Is This the Best Dispute Resolution We Can Do?
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Michael A. Zeytoonian
I suppose somewhere, some group celebrated the “win” of recapturing Syrian cities as a strategic victory. The problem was that there was nothing left to recapture. Whatever had once been there was gone. The people were either dead, injured or gone. There was no other movement.