Reflections on Mediation: Past, Present, and Future
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
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
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
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
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.
Become a World Class Negotiator
It's not rocket science and it's not a secondary sexual characteristic. You don't "negotiate like a man" or "like a woman." You read, you practice, you fail, you succeed, you learn.
Blue Bloods and Restorative Justice
As we know, it is rare that any form of dispute resolution makes it onto network television in prime time. Friday night’s episode of Blue Bloods—the New York police drama starring Tom Selleck—featured a story line about restorative justice. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good example. In the story, a young woman whose family was killed when she was a child got a letter from the convicted killer.
Texas Legislature Considers Measure that Would Require Out-of-Network Emergency Room Providers to Arbitrate Payment Claims
A bill seeking to establish an arbitration process designed to protect patients who are treated by an out-of-network provider during an emergency room visit from being hit with hefty medical charges is currently before the Texas Legislature. House Bill 1638, “Relating to nonpreferred provider claims under a preferred provider benefit plan related to emergency care,” was introduced by Representative Smithee and filed on February 19, 2015. An accompanying proposal was introduced in the Texas Senate on March 12th by Senator Taylor of Galveston.
Conflict Transformation in TV and Movies
My wife and I started using movie and TV clips in mediation training after participating in a workshop facilitated by Baruch Bush and Joe Folger called Rethinking Conflict in 2008. We were so inspired by this teaching and learning tool that we picked up the ball and ran with it.
The Managed Mediation of a Payor-Provider Health Care Dispute
Typically, more than 95 percent of mediations are initiated by one or two parties who agreed on a mediator, scheduled the mediation, filed a brief and showed up at the mediation session. The mediation session is often the first time the parties discuss the issues with the mediator or each other.
Where Have All The Idealists Gone? Long Time Passing
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
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
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
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?
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.
Blurred Lines: Non-attorneys Representing Parties in Arbitration
As an arbitrator and teacher of arbitration, I’ve noticed that legal issues are more frequently the focus in arbitration proceedings, both non-labor and labor. I have watched non-lawyer representatives struggle to make legal arguments (although, in fairness, sometimes that is true of lawyers as well). To ensure adequate representation of parties in arbitration involving legal issues, I believe that the parties should be represented by counsel, and that failure to have counsel (rather than non-lawyer representatives) in such proceedings may well be the unauthorized practice of law.
8 Habits of a Conflict Resolver
Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard someone say, “I don’t do conflict.” It’s the type of statement that can be mindboggling because, really, we all do conflict. Whether small and fleeting or the only thing you can think about for months, we are all in some way or another doing conflict every day.
Minnesota Considers Moving Divorce out of Court
“In our culture, court means contest – it means a fight. . . we’ve culturally viewed divorce as a battle” says Bill Doherty. Doherty says that, no matter how well-intentioned the lawyers, the assumption that judicial supervision is needed greatly increases the risk of destructive conflict arising. Doherty believes that, very often, couples who get divorced without the help of lawyers do better than they would with lawyers. Doherty’s plan takes divorce entirely outside the courts.
There’s Always Time for a Second Opinion
The litigation process is full of variables and, no matter how strong a party’s case might be, going to trial is rarely a sure thing. There is also a tendency for counsel and clients to be overconfident in their assessments of their position. Thanks to the evolution of ADR, however, parties have many options available to them to secure an unbiased, neutral evaluation or second opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of a particular case and trial strategy.
Connecticut Evaluates Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program
In October 2014, the Connecticut Judicial Branch released an evaluation of its Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program. The Connecticut study evaluates six years of foreclosure mediation program data, dating from the program’s inception in 2008. As RSI prepares the first evaluation of Illinois’ six foreclosure mediation incubation programs, the earliest of which began accepting cases in December 2013, it’s interesting to review Connecticut’s data and how the program has evolved over time.
Access to Mediation: Future Mediators
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
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
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
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
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.
First Things First: Design the Arbitration Process You Want
The principles for drafting a pre-dispute arbitration clause are straightforward. They do require an understanding of the legal relationship, which will be the subject of the clause, some sense of the nature of disputes that are likely to arise and a basic understanding of arbitration process.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress yesterday about the conflict with Iran (transcript here) illustrates an attitude many parties in conflict take toward settlement negotiations. As the possibility of a negotiated resolution of a conflict begins to emerge, elements on one side or the other often find themselves resisting the deal.
“Good Faith” vs. “Naive Realism”?
Perhaps I am an idealist, or even though a baby boomer with many years of litigation experience behind me— a bit naïve. Or –perhaps it is because I am a mediator and so am privy to both sides of the dispute and can see the “story” as an outsider or bystander. I do not know.
Back to the Future of Mediation
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.
Where Does Marital Mediation Fit In?
During the past quarter century, academics and others writing about mediation have characterized styles of mediation as belonging to one of three categories: “facilitative,” “evaluative,” and “transformative”. The categories are quite clearly defined.
Musings on Mediators, Pizza-Makers, and Humanity
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.
La Tercera Ola de los Mecanismos Alternativos de Solucion de Conflictos
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.
Mediation and the Black Belt Lawyer
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.
Be Less Certain—and More Flexible
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.
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.
Further Thoughts on Armstrong Arbitration Award
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Lance Armstrong was named the winner of the Tour de France in 2002, 2003, and 2004. When Armstrong won in 2004, considerable speculation existed regarding whether he had won cleanly. SCA Promotions, the prize insurer, was reluctant to pay the prize money given the speculation, and ultimately SCA, Armstrong, and Tailwind Sports arbitrated the case.