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Mediate.com

The Goal is to be Fair

by Clare Fowler
October 2011

Fairly Legal Blog by Clare Fowler

Clare Fowler

The Goal is to be Fair, right? Or at last make sure the parties feel that the process was fair.

In a recent video entitled Mediation 101 produced by the TV show Fairly Legal, Kate Reed (the mediator) explains that the goal of mediation is to be fair. I continue to applaud this show and I don’t want to nitpick it to death, and I have the same mission for this video.

So Kate Reed says to the public that the goal of mediation is to be fair. As mediators, we immediately cringe and say, ” But mediation is never fair. There is always a power imbalance or a revealed secret that forces the mediator to spend more time, attention, emotion, etc. with one party. And if the public thinks everything has to be 50/50 then will they be disappointed when they arrive in mediation and feel like they’re giving 51%?”

Well I think it’s good that Kate said that mediation is fair. I think for the most part mediation is a much fairer process than most other forms of justice. And wouldn’t we rather that the public arrive in mediation thinking it’s a fair process, with their guard down, ready to negotiate in good faith?

And even if we as mediators are guiding things to make up for any existing power imbalances, shouldn’t the parties feel that the process is fair anyway?

I say and again I say, “Keep spouting the magic of mediation, Kate!” Any misconceptions she puts out there I’ll be more than happy to discuss with the clients as they are walking in the door, so long as the show keeps clients walking in the door!

View the video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhlDY0jA7uQ

Biography


Clare Fowler, Managing Editor at Mediate.com, received her Master's of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, focused on reducing workplace conflicts, from Pepperdine University School of Education. Clare also coordinated the career development program for The Straus Institute dispute resolution students. In addition to her editorial duties at Mediate.com, Clare coordinates online case management for ADR programs, agencies and courts.



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Website: www.ClareFowler.com

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