Fear Comes to School: Mediating Among Parents Around Ebola
As medical personnel, emergency aid workers, and diplomatic personnel return to the U.S. from West Africa, schools must manage tensions between local families who are fearful for their own children, and parents who have been at the front lines attempting to stem the epidemic. What mediator strategies may prove useful?
Is Conflict Always Negative (or Where is the Tiger)?
Once upon a time, when we lived among the tigers, we wisely kept our threat detectors on sensitive.1 With no time to think, when seconds might make the difference between having and being dinner, we reacted, and quickly. Knee-jerk made sense as time was usually on the tiger’s side.
Processing it All on the Last Day….
On my last evening in Israel, I walked on the beach and gazed at the sunset over the beautiful Mediteranean Sea and I was full of so many complex thoughts. That day my visit to Neve Shalom Wahat Al-Salam involved me joining a group of German Citizens who came to view the atrocities imposed upon the Palestinians by the Israeli Government.
What is a “Tiered Dispute Resolution Clause” and What Options Does it have to Offer?
Michael A. Zeytoonian
Tiered dispute resolution clauses in contracts -- this is the first step in providing clients with alternatives to court and litigation. It gives parties value in three ways: (1) It gives them the opportunity to work together on how they will resolve a dispute; (2) it allows lawyers to educate their clients on what their options are, how they work and what their pros and cons are while the parties are calm and agreeable; and (3) it gives the parties more control over the process as well as the outcome.
The Golden Sounds of Silence
Once you acquire some skill in mediation, I find one of the hardest things to master is keeping quiet when emotions erupt. Yes, anger, shouting, tears and bluster happen. Our job as mediators is to bring peace and calm into the room, but I find one of the challenges is to remain silent and still without reacting in a “fix it” mode. Eventually, the anger usually blows over once the steam has been let out.
Thanksgiving Through The Centuries!
Thanksgiving will soon be upon us. And while we will all give thanks for the many blessings that we have, I thought I would share some of the lesser known, but interesting facts about our national holiday. (Spoiler alert: This blog has absolutely nothing to do with mediation!--maybe just communication and national culture?)
Whose Job is the Conflict?
I am a big proponent of taking responsibility for resolving a conflict that somehow includes or affects you, especially if you started the dispute, and this article offers skills for doing this.
5 Ways to Ruin Your Relationships
Ugh…relationships…who needs them? They are so needy! Your coworker always wants to go out for a beer after work, your partner wants to spend time with you, your friend keeps calling you up to come see your new house. Who has time for all this? It’s probably better just to get rid of them all. So here’s 5 things you can do to ruin any relationship in your life; work, home, friends, even acquaintances.
Arbitration in Evolution
The arbitration survey conducted by Professor Tom Stipanowich and the Straus Institute revealed current practices and trends in arbitration. This article specifically examines the demographics of the arbitrators and questions whether these demographics are the best for the business.
$1B Settlement Reached in Stryker Hip Implant Mass Tort
Thousands of plaintiffs in New Jersey and around the country who had surgery to remove failed hip implants settled their claims November 3 in a deal that is expected to pay out more than $1 billion. It was reached after four months of negotiations with Stryker mediated by retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Diane Welsh, a JAMS mediator based in Philadelphia.
The Growth of Arbitrator Power to Control Counsel Conduct
There have been increasing calls over the past few years for an international code of conduct for counsel in international commercial arbitration, and for arbitrators to have more power to control counsel conduct. The growing concern is related to significant changes that have taken place in international arbitration practice.
Time Is "Like-The-Present"
There is an old adage, "Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?" And indeed, many of us do just that because time is a precious commodity of which there is never enough.
Who Are You When You're in Conflict?
It happens sometimes that we lose track of ourselves when in conflict. We may find we turn into someone who doesn’t even resemble who we usually are and how we interact. We may become an angry parent, a petulant child, a dogmatic teacher, a judge or other personas that reflect a different somebody than we want to be.
The Case for Dispute Resolution Clauses in Contracts
Michael A. Zeytoonian
I am fortunate enough to have some great clients. They do their jobs well, they run their businesses and organizations well. Because they do things right, I have less “back end” (reactive) work from them because they don’t get many claims against them. That is partly because we work together on the “front end” (proactive) work of anticipating issues before they arise and preventively address them.
Reflections on the State and Future of Commercial Arbitration
What may be most striking about these developments is that, until fairly recently, cost- and time-saving were often regarded as among the leading potential benefits of arbitration and a primary basis for distinguishing arbitration as an alternative to litigation. The growing prominence of these elements as perceived negatives of arbitration is therefore particularly troubling.
I was interviewed the other day for a possible article on court-ordered mediation. In discussing this topic, it's hard to avoid talking about such questions as settlement rates in various kinds of programs, or how mediation programs affect the workload of the courts
Did Hunger Sabotage A Mediation?
The other day, I conducted two mediations between the same plaintiff's counsel, the same defendants and their counsel. The only different party in the two mediations was the plaintiff. One mediation was to start in the morning and the next in early afternoon, figuring each would take about 3 hours.
5 Reasons It’s Hard for Mediators to Support Self-Determination
Many mediators practice consistently with our intention to support party self-determination throughout the process. These mediations tend to be very meaningful to the parties and tend to lead to profound shifts in how parties see the situation, themselves, and each other. They also tend to lead to settlements that all parties are genuinely, lastingly at peace with. But in the world of litigation, mediations continue to be far less effective, meaningful, and empowering than they could be. Many mediators who work on litigated cases continue to use methods that undermine self-determination, that interfere with inter-party recognition and that cause the process to be far less satisfying. Here are 5 reasons that these less effective practices persist.
Themes in Mediation
Hidden beneath the arguments of a couple in mediation there is a repeating theme. The argument is like Joseph’s coat of many colors. Each disagreement on the surface appears to be about something different, like one of the many colors on the coat. Under the coat, however, there is only Joseph, who remains mostly unchanged.
The Urgent Need For Data: Are the Needs of Users and the Dispute Resolution Market Misaligned?
Deborah Masucci, Michael Leathes
Seismic tremors emanating from London's Guildhall on October 29th 2014 are set to send change-inducing shockwaves, around the international dispute resolution community. It is widely known that dispute resolution's customers, the disputants, have different needs and interests from the supply side of the market such as external counsel, ADR providers, and educators. The shock comes from the initial data generated at this Convention, suggesting just how far out of alignment the supply side may be with the views and needs of the users. Additional data is needed on an international scale.
The Shocking Cost of Divorce in PA
The added expense of living in two separate households may be obvious in a divorce case, but have you also budgeted for the cost of hiring a divorce lawyer to go to court? Read this article to gain a full understanding of the fees associated with a divorce lawyer and understand why divorce mediation may the better option for you.
Mediation will Get its Foot in a South African Door
A fortuitous incident one Monday morning changed everything for two disputees. The two trustees found themselves in the uncomfortable position of getting into the same lift. Without acknowledging each other’s presence they watched the doors close and felt the lift slide down from the 12th floor. It stayed stuck there for two hours - perhaps the most fortuitous two hours of their lives. For in those two hours they resolved a two-year long frozen conflict by talking to each other – person to person.
What is Negotiation?
We often think of negotiation as a distinct and climactic phase of a dispute. Interactions leading up to the final settlement event are often considered merely as preparation, if that. In litigated cases, we often ignore the litigation as if it was largely irrelevant to the information available and the dynamics in negotiation.
Hair Trigger Temper
You may have heard the phrase hair trigger temper referring to someone who reacts strongly when angry. As an adjective hair trigger has been described to mean “easily activated or set off; reacting immediately to the slightest provocation or cause”.
10 Things I’ve Learned From Being a Mediator
I’m lucky that I’ve had so much training and experience in mediating issues between others. It’s impossible to be a part of the mediation community and not learn a thing or two about oneself in the process. So, today I’m going to share, in no particular order of importance, ten things I’ve learned along the way.
Transformative Mediation Program Helps Ohio Employees
Calls kept coming in to the Ohio Employees’ EAP program. Some calls came from a supervisor who was having trouble dealing with an employee. Some came from an employee who was having trouble with a supervisor. Sometimes it was co-workers who were in conflict with each other. Regardless of whom the conflict involved, the EAP was underequipped to help. They could counsel the caller, but the director of the EAP knew a different type of service was needed. So they sought outside expertise on workplace conflict intervention, and they put out a Request for Proposal.
The Italian ADR Saga: a Machiavellian Plot, or Just Lawyers Without a Plan
Mediation has long been a matter of contention in Italy. First introduced by a government decree in 2011, mandatory mediation resulted in strikes by part of the legal profession, and was then quashed in 2012 by the country’s Constitutional Court. As the number of mediations dropped drastically after the court decision, in September 2013 Italy re-introduced the mandatory requirement. The country is still in the growing pains of a new system.
Dr. Lynne C. Halem
Most people do not think of their household belongings as assets. It is, after all, just “stuff”. Except, that is, if asked to view the stuff as property subject to division in divorce. Then, suddenly, even the smallest or most insignificant items are seen in a whole new light, indeed take on a whole new value.
Workplace Conflict – Putting It in Context
Many articles on workplace conflict miss out on a key subject area and one which is often best considered first – the context within which the conflict has arisen in the first place. In other words, we cannot consider a conflict situation in isolation from the circumstances in which it has occurred, and the key to its resolution may well lie as much in this contextual realm as it does in appreciating the conflict issue and the people involved in the dispute.
Gender and Decision-Making
Men and women are pretty much equally good decision-makers when under low stress levels, but “When stressed, men are more prone to taking risky bets with little payoff.”
Is ADR Your 1st Career?
Mediation for many is a second field--after giving the first half of their professional career to the law, social work, therapy, real estate, business negotiations, and many other fields. This law focuses on the few who began their career in ADR--and how they managed to get started without another path to build on.
Body Language in Online Mediation - What Do We Miss?
Leaving aside for a moment the question as to whether the "limited" body language in online dispute resolution is sufficient or not for doing our job, I believe that while for us mediators body language is a key factor, from the parties' perspective it is not the "only" factor. For them, there are other important factors to consider.
To Puff or Not to Puff . . . (or When and How to Puff)
I’m no expert on moral philosophy or the social psychology of lying, but I think that most people probably believe that some misrepresentation is acceptable and even justified. Students in my Lawyering course regale the class with tales of their perfidy, sometimes with pride rather than shame.
Expectations and Conflict
One of the things that can lead to conflict has to do with unmet expectations. For instance, we had hoped that another person would have said or done something that reflects their care and concern for us; they excluded us from a gathering or decision; they had something we wanted and knew it was important to us; or they didn’t provide their support or were unreliable about a matter.
The Consolidation Arbitrator – An Arbitrator Too Far?
Whilst many institutional rules now contain provisions which expressly address the complex issue of consolidation, the recently revised rules of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (the “ICDR”), the international arm of the American Arbitration Association (the “AAA”), are the first to have introduced the novel concept of the “consolidation arbitrator”.
Eight Tips on How to Impress Your Arbitrator
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While the most successful way to impress your arbitrator is with the merits of your case, there are smaller, but important, ways to create a favorable impression of yourself and your client’s case. This article is one arbitrator’s guide to creating an arbitral environment favorable to you and your client.