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Boston Mediators Respond

by Geoff Sharp

From the blog mediator blah...blah...

Geoff Sharp

In response to my post yesterday on Robert Benjamin's lightning rod article A Tribute and Lament on the Field of Mediation Dr Tammy Lenski says;

"I and other colleagues had dinner with Robert a few weeks ago when he came to be a guest speaker at Woodbury, where I teach mediation. Part of the conversation evolved into lamenting about the number of mediators we know who print brochures and try to get on panels as their primary (sometime only) practice-building efforts. There was also pondering about the apparent disconnect between mediation and entrepreneurial spirit.I suspect that's what Robert was writing about in the article.

I'll add in a piece I did on the subject a while back and which is discussed in my forthcoming book, Making Mediation Your Day Job - Stop Waiting, Start Building...

Tammy's 'piece' is much more than that and is well worth a look;

"Stop waiting for referrals from lawyers. Attorneys, in general, like to refer to other attorneys. Even if you’re an attorney, it’s going to take a very long time to build a full-time practice that way.
Stop putting most of your effort into applications to court rosters. You will not earn enough to make mediation your day job.
Stop banking on a living wage from state agency referrals and rosters. Even in states with healthy mediation programs associated with government agencies, there will not be enough work to pay you and all the other mediators clamoring for a piece of the pie.
Stop giving most of the time you have available to develop your practice to your community mediation center in the name of getting experience. Give them some of your time, and keep some of it for serious development of your practice.
Stop waiting for your national, regional and state associations to educate the public and create work for you. Most of our associations don’t have enough person-power or the fiscal resources to make this a reality anytime soon"

And over at Online Guide to Mediation, Diane Levin posts Time for a change: Is mediation ready for reform? and opines that;

"the problem lies not in a lack of innovation or entrepreneurship. But I do think that Benjamin is right that mediation's complicitness in the functioning of the institutional machinery yields the kind of failings that Dean Alfini points to ..." [read more]


Geoff Sharp is a Commercial Mediator from Wellington, New Zealand. Geoff works in the Asia Pacific region, including New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand and Pacific Islands. He is a mediator resolving business problems. He is a fellow of the International Academy of Mediators and mediates complex and hotly debated litigation covering a wide range of subject matter from insurance disputes to historic sexual abuse claims.

Geoff is author of the award winning blog mediator blah...blah... a mediation blog experiment in reflective practice and the Mediation vBlog Project, a kind of mediation genome project by video blog.

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Additional articles by Geoff Sharp