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ABA Task Force's 4 Elements On Quality Mediators

by Jeff Thompson
March 2011

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson

Recently while reading Deborah Laufer's ADR Network newsletter, I cam across the following:

ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality - http://www.abanet.org/dispute/documents/FinalTaskForceMediation.pdf.
The Task Force focused on the use of mediation in civil disputes of all kinds, including commercial, employment and personal injury cases. Matrimonial, family and community disputes were excluded. The four elements found to be essential to effective mediations were:

* Preparation by the mediators, counsel and parties;
* Customization of the mediation process for the specific dispute;
* Use of analytical techniques by the mediator; and
* Patience, persistence and active engagement by the mediator.

Some quick thoughts I have on this:

1) It's great that this list detailing quality traits has been released.

2) I think, although matrimonial, family and community disputes were excluded, the elements apply to all kinds of mediation.

3) I am interested in how those traits are displayed. Are they displayed and used a certain way (establishing a theme) by individual mediators and then also mediators across the board?

4) In regards to point three- that is exactly the reason I am doing my current research- to find out how exactly those traits are used and displayed while also exploring to see if there are themes with individual mediators as well as a collection of mediators.

For example, point four states patience and persistence as key elements. How do mediators effectively act persistent and patient. What is it that displays those traits?

Thoughts?

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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