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Kyong Mazzaro
A Lasting Peace: Evidence Shows That Civil Society Matters (3/28/14)
Kyong Mazzaro
Over the last few decades, civil society has been accepted as an important actor i n post-conflict peacebuilding. However, the relative importance and the actual roles that civil society representatives play in the peace settlement process have been the subject of a long debate. On one hand, getting the actual actors involved in a conflict to partake in the negotiation seems like a logical step.

Chris Poole
Five Things You Didn’t Know about Arbitration (3/28/14)
Chris Poole
Arbitration is by no means a new option for resolving disputes. Yet, parties and their counsel may not be aware of everything that this method of alternative dispute resolution brings to the table. Here are five things you may not know about arbitration from members of the JAMS arbitration panel.

Matthew Phillips
Community Mediation Continues To Thrive Through Dedicated Volunteers (3/21/14)
Matthew Phillips
On March 5, 2014, the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) announced its first ever recipient of its newly established Outstanding Volunteer Award Program.

Michael P. Carbone
Quality Control (3/21/14)
Michael P. Carbone
The purchaser of any service has to know in advance whether the provider can deliver high quality. If the purchaser happens to be a lawyer, and if the provider will be a mediator, how should the lawyer evaluate the potential provider?

Katherine Triantafillou
Mediation: The Greeks Have a Word for It (3/21/14)
Katherine Triantafillou
Mediators are fond of pointing out the transformative effects of successful mediation in the world of peacebuilding and so it is with the formation of a new center providing services to working class communities in Greece. In fact, the group of facilitators bringing the center to life call themselves “Team Metaplasis,” meaning “transformation” in Greek.   1 Comment

Nick Redding
At Work, Our Mental Models of Conflict Matter (3/21/14)
Nick Redding
The way we think about conflict matters. These “mental models” of conflict influence the strategies we employ when we are engaged in conflict. Our models are influenced by our personality, life experiences, and general orientation to the world around us. In turn, they impact how others will react to us, influencing the likelihood of reaching more or less constructive outcomes.

James M. Amend
Implications for Mediation of Patent Infringement Suits (3/21/14)
James M. Amend
Most mediators will agree that a key to reaching a settlement is to have the right people in the room at the mediation. Unless all interested parties are represented by people having the authority to settle on their behalves, settlement is unlikely at the mediation session.

Joseph Grynbaum
Roots Of Construction Project Disputes Flow From Biblical Past (3/21/14)
Joseph Grynbaum
Have you ever wondered why the construction industry is still saddled with its culture of adversity, contractual conflict and a “who’s to blame” attitude? Or what causes job disputes to quickly escalate into full-blown claims despite the well intentioned calming efforts of the site managers?

Jan Frankel Schau
Making Assumptions in Mediation (3/21/14)
Jan Frankel Schau
This Saint Patrick’s Day I had a good reminder that a mediator should never make assumptions about matters such as culture, experience or sophistication of the parties before them. The case was brought by a Japanese man who had sued his former employer, an American company, for wrongful termination.

Dan Simon
How Do You Get Them To. . .? (3/21/14)
Dan Simon
When I spend a day teaching mediators who were originally trained in a Facilitative approach, many questions start with “So how do you get them to. . . ?” That question reveals that the asker has a different sense of what self-determination means than I do. That is, I don’t want to get clients to do anything. I find that clients tend to do certain things with my support, but it’s their choice whether and when they do those things; and it’s their choice whether they want to do . . . anything.   1 Comment

Jan Schau
How Effective is Distributive Bargaining when the Parties are Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars apart? (3/14/14)
Jan Schau
I find that most of the cases that I mediate need a third party neutral because the two sides are evaluating both liability and damages very differently. The mediator is the bridge to some better understanding. But beyond the conceptual, how effective is it to conduct distributive bargaining by way of demand, offer, counter-offer and counter-demand when the parties start out with a demand of something like $1 million and an offer of $5,000.?

Tammy Lenski
Great Conflict Resolution Starts With Great Problem Finding (3/14/14)
Tammy Lenski
A group of students at the Art Institute of Chicago approached two large tables holding 27 random objects. They’d been asked to select some objects and draw a still life. They were being observed by two social scientists, who reported on the communication impacts.

Phyllis Pollack
It's All about the Relationship (3/14/14)
Phyllis Pollack
In 2000, I decided to move away from practicing law because I got tired of fighting with opposing counsel and being labeled and treated as the "bad guy" simply because I was representing an allegedly "bad guy". It seemed that civility and professionalism among lawyers no longer existed, and I and my clients were continuously lumped together as "hated and despised" individuals.

Wayne Brazil
Don’t Apply Risk Analysis To Discounted Settlement Value (3/14/14)
Wayne Brazil
In preparing for a course about alternative dispute resolution that I recently taught, I did some research into the relationship between probability theory and the way “decision analysis” (sometimes called “risk analysis”) is sometimes used to try to determine the “discounted settlement value” of civil cases.

Beth Graham
Dallas COA Holds Cellular Network Technology Dispute is Subject to Arbitration (3/14/14)
Beth Graham
Texas’ Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas has affirmed a lower court’s decision stating an agreement to arbitrate existed between two cellular network technology companies. In Tecore, Inc. v. AirWalk Communications, Inc., No. 05-12-00130-CV (Dallas App. – December 4, 2013), a cellular network manufacturer, Tecore, agreed to purchase and distribute equipment manufactured by AirWalk Communications.

Jeff Thompson
What Role Does the Environment Have In Negotiation & Mediation? (3/14/14)
Jeff Thompson
If you had a choice in how to set up your mediation or negotiation room, how would it look? I asked, as part of my PhD research at Griffith University Law School (I'm research nonverbal communication and mediation), this question.

Cinnie Noble
I Didn't Mean it That Way (3/14/14)
Cinnie Noble
It seems statements that go like, “I didn’t mean it that way” are ones we use when something we said or how we said it is misinterpreted by another person and offends her or him. Or, it may be a gesture that is misread. In either case, as a consequence of the other person’s reaction to us and the realization that our words or actions are perceived in a way that is not intended, we attempt to defend ourselves and explain what we meant. This is when we may utter phrases like, “I didn’t mean it that way”.

Jan Schau
How Do You Manage the Unrepresented Party in Litigation? (3/08/14)
Jan Schau
This week, I had two hearings with unrepresented Plaintiffs. These can be doubly vexing when the Lawyer representing the Defendant attempts to bully the Plaintiff by his/her superior knowledge of the process and the law. Just as on the playground, I find that bullies do not usually win out in life, though they can certainly inflict some pain at the moment.

Stephanie West Allen
How to Focus That Wandering Mind (3/08/14)
Stephanie West Allen
Below is an article with a good overview of a skill and habit that is helpful, probably essential, to both parties in dispute and conflict professionals: focusing a mind that's wandering. The article also explains some of the neuroscience underlying focus and wandering.

Phyllis Pollack
Pinning the Tail on the Donkey Blindfolded (3/08/14)
Phyllis Pollack
Not every Plaintiff wants to settle her lawsuit. Some, who are wealthy and have time on their hands, enjoy the "game" for the sake of the game. Some plaintiffs are risk takers who enjoy the "ride."

Joe Markowitz
Directions (3/08/14)
Joe Markowitz
Say you're planning an excursion to the beach. Would it make sense to suggest that the best way to get there would be to head in the opposite direction, toward the desert? When your passengers question that route, the only excuse you might have to offer is that after they spend a few hours driving around in the dry heat, they will appreciate eventually getting to the beach even more.

Ellen Kandell
The Neutral’s Perspective: Lessons from the Trenches (3/07/14)
Ellen Kandell
Conflict in family estate cases can often be lessened by guided communication. The degree of conflict in some disputes can be minimized by more sharing of information by the personal representative with the heirs.

Joanna Wares
Avoid Disputes Created by Misunderstanding Contracts (2/28/14)
Joanna Wares
Recently I've seen a number of mediation situations where contract issues are in dispute as a result of unfulfilled expectations by a customer. In each of these cases an employee of the company met with their prospective customer and discussed the customer needs and the benefits of the using their company or purchasing their product.

Michael Jacobs
Mediation Feedback: Who is it For? (2/28/14)
Michael Jacobs
This article is the result of switching seats – moving from practitioner to party. Every mediation service I've worked for sends out feedback forms. Sometimes immediately after sessions, sometimes a few weeks later. This experience made me question the importance of mediation evaluation.

Jan Schau
How Do You Keep the Parties at the Mediation Hearing Until Settlement? (2/28/14)
Jan Schau
This week, I presided over two hearings where the parties were in a hurry to leave. In one, the case was settled, but in our collective haste, not one of the parties or their lawyers caught the fact that the short-form settlement agreement expressed an agreement to pay $00.00. This left the Plaintiff’s lawyer concerned enough that the following day he sent an email revoking his client’s acceptance of the offer!

Michael A. Zeytoonian
3 Misconceptions About Using Collaborative Law in Employment Disputes (2/28/14)
Michael A. Zeytoonian
Over 2013, we heard a few reasons from employers and companies for why they would forego using Collaborative Law – a much more efficient dispute resolution process than litigation – and opt for litigation or arbitration instead.

Tammy Lenski
Why Learning Conflict Resolution Skills Won't Help (2/28/14)
Tammy Lenski
The way you view conflict has a tremendous impact on the way you respond and react to the conflicts in your life. Learning better, shinier, or newer conflict resolution skills won’t make the kind of difference you think it will, unless you also reconsider what you believe about conflict in general.   3 Comments

Phyllis Pollack
Revising Memories (2/28/14)
Phyllis Pollack
So, once again, in recalling the facts surrounding a dispute, beware; our memories are not what we think they are, and unknowingly, our memories will revise the history of what happened and/or how it happened. To resolve the dispute, it will help NOT to be adamant about the facts giving rise to it. Rather... focus on the future to get it settled. Our memories, while they may be time travelers to the past, have not yet become time travelers to the future.

Chris Poole
5 Things You Didn’t Know about Class Action ADR (2/28/14)
Chris Poole
For both plaintiffs and defendants, class action litigation is time-intensive, costly and requires close oversight from start to finish. As a result, parties are increasingly turning to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) providers to manage many aspects of class action litigation. The value that ADR can offer to parties extends well beyond reaching a settlement.

Ian MacDuff
WYSI[N]WYG (2/28/14)
Ian MacDuff
In the early days of personal computing, the development of the “graphical user interface” was accompanied by the acronym, WYSIWYG: “What you see is what you get.” While some frustrated computer users know that this was never entirely true, or might only have been true for the computer boffins who designed the interface, the idea was nevertheless an important one: what was there on the surface was what you had to deal with – folder and files and trash cans were all there on the virtual “desktop.”

Katherine Triantafillou
Mediators Beyond Borders Dialogue Team Shares Secrets of Success (2/21/14)
Katherine Triantafillou
Building on the success of an international partnership with the Athens based Hellenic Mediation and Arbitration Centre, members of the Mediators Beyond Borders International dialogue training team will be presenting a strategy for promoting the non-violent resolution of international conflicts.

Michael P. Carbone
On Being Understood (2/21/14)
Michael P. Carbone
Continuing this month with our review of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit No. 5 is to "Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood." Rarely do I see advocates in mediation who have mastered this habit. The duty of zealous advocacy almost always prevails, and lawyers seem to be generally better at speaking than at listening.

Stephanie West Allen
How Your Memory Rewrites the Past (2/21/14)
Stephanie West Allen
Since the past is usually an important factor in a dispute, understanding the process of memory can be helpful to anyone involved in the dispute and its resolution. Although the malleability of memory is not a new topic here in this blog, a reminder can be of value.

Larry Susskind
What is Sustainable City Development? (2/21/14)
Larry Susskind
By 2025, Malaysia intends to be a developed, not a developing, nation. In addition to explicit economic development targets, there is also growing environmental awareness (with a national commitment to becoming a low-carbon society), as well as an emerging commitment to social development. Our question, then, is "has all of this translated in some measurable way to more sustainable patterns of city development?" And, what more can be done to ensure that this happens?

Karen Hollett
ADR, Access to Justice and the RPM (2/21/14)
Karen Hollett
I have been mulling lately on the connections between ADR & access to justice and how the "reasonably person model" (RPM) might inform a conflict resolution dialogue. Some ADR professionals may be wary of such a dialogue because the "solution" may be posed as free or cut-rate ADR processes.

Phyllis Pollack
The Subtleties of Memory (2/21/14)
Phyllis Pollack
All disputes are premised on what occurred in the past, with the view of resolving matters by looking forward. We are often told not to "dwell on the past" but to "look forward" in trying to figure out how to best resolve the issues. For some participants, particular older participants, it may not be so easy to quickly look to the future.

Joe Markowitz
Agents (2/21/14)
Joe Markowitz
While exaggerated, television depictions of international diplomacy has its roots in reality. I heard a talk the other day about the history of negotiations between the US and Iran over Iran's nuclear program. Those negotiations broke down a number of times over the past 10 years, in part because the negotiators for each side did not always have the full backing of their respective governments.

Jan Schau
Do You Engage Clients in a True Risk/Benefit Analysis? (2/14/14)
Jan Schau
In the theme of Valentine’s Day, I attended a networking meeting of a group of lawyers today who almost uniformly reported that what they loved about their jobs was bringing solutions to their clients who presented them with a wide array of legal problems, ranging from tax indebtedness to estate planning to white collar crime to divorce.

Maria Simpson
Conflict from Workplace Behaviors (2/14/14)
Maria Simpson
Years ago a wonderful little book appeared called Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It was mostly about basic consideration for others such as taking turns, sharing, and not wrecking other people’s possessions.

Ralph Kilmann
The Inherent Conflict Regarding Who Determines Your Self-Worth (2/14/14)
Ralph Kilmann
Recently, I’ve been having more discussions on the core topic of self-worth: Am I a good or bad person? Am I valuable? Am I loveable? Do I deserve to be happy? And, most importantly, who chooses the answers to these profound questions: You or other people?

Hilary Linton
What is Mediation? (2/14/14)
Hilary Linton
This rant is for those (few remaining) lawyers who discourage their clients from trying mediation with the lame allegation that mediation is too “touchy-feely.” It is hard to believe that, in this day and age, some lawyers still have such a patronizing attitude.

Joe Markowitz
Mediation's Future (2/14/14)
Joe Markowitz
I've heard a number of evangelists of the mediation world talk about the seemingly limitless future of the mediation process. That future seems to depend on the public finally becoming more aware of the possibilities of mediation to resolve not only conflicts that have already worked their way through the court system, but also conflicts that have never even made it to court, or that might be unsuitable for court.   2 Comments

Phyllis Pollack
The "Paradox of Choice" and the "Sweet Spot" (2/14/14)
Phyllis Pollack
The other day, I came across an article on the PBS NewsHour website entitled "Is the famous paradox of choice a myth" by Barry Schwartz dated January 29, 2014. Evidently, there is much controversy whether too many choices create a paralysis.

Beth Graham
Highly Accurate Predictive Analytics Used to Help Settle Longshot Mediation (2/13/14)
Beth Graham
According to reports, Mary Brennan Stich, Vice-President and Associate General Counsel of Rackspace Hosting, recently used Picture It Settled® by Don Philbin n a case that she considered to be a longshot for settlement.   1 Comment

Jeff Thompson
Student Writing Competition in ADR (2/11/14)
Jeff Thompson
Here's a great opportunity for current students- the annual Student Writing Competition in ADR organized by the Association for Conflict Resolution for Greater New York (ACR-GNY) and generously sponsored by the JAMS Foundation will be held once again this year.

Phyllis Pollack
The Good, the Interesting, and the Modern (2/07/14)
Phyllis Pollack
It is Friday afternoon, and I am bored. Being desperate, I decided to review the Daily Journal's supplement of "New California Laws for 2014." Not only did I manage to stay awake throughout the entire 70 pages, I actually found some interesting laws.

Andrea Schneider
ABA DR Section Survey on Gender Differences (2/07/14)
Andrea Schneider
The ABA Section on Dispute Resolution conducted a survey last year of its lawyer members and the results are in!

F. Peter Phillips
Multidoor Courthouse on a Global Mediation Scale (2/07/14)
F. Peter Phillips
A young, vibrant and alive mentor once taught me that it costs no more to dream big than to dream little. And Michael Leathes is dreaming big.

Cinnie Noble
Are You Beating Around the Bush? (2/07/14)
Cinnie Noble
When we are in conflict, some of us avoid coming to the point about something we think may upset the other person. The idiom beat around (or about) the bush describes the sort of prevarication when we delay or are evasive about raising difficult things. Or, it may be we act this way when we are having challenges answering a hard question.

Katherine Graham
How Does Your Organization Rate in How it Responds to Conflict? (2/07/14)
Katherine Graham
How robust is your organisation’s approach to conflict? We’ve developed a quick checklist to help you find out.   1 Comment

Christine Webb
Is that a Threat? (2/07/14)
Christine Webb
A body of previous research has established important differences between resource- and value-based conflicts, particularly when it comes to effective resolutions. A new study by Kouzakova and colleagues (2014)1 of Leiden University sheds light on the motivational underpinnings of these discrepancies.

Cinnie Noble
That Made My Blood Boil (1/31/14)
Cinnie Noble
Did you know that there was a belief that blood actually boils when people become angry or excited? We know that is not true and even has a sort of sci-fi feeling to it. However, that made my blood boil is an expression used by some of us when commenting on something that highly offends us. Wiktionary describes the idiom to mean: “To cause a person to feel angry or very annoyed, especially in situations in which one cannot fully display that feeling to others”.

Katherine Graham
Good Judgment -- Handy Mediation Hint (1/31/14)
Katherine Graham
Good judgment skills are crucial in mediation and investigation. Misread a situation and it can be fatal. Act without prior consideration and it can destroy rapport. Misjudge parties and they may forgive you, but it will take a while before they trust you again.   1 Comment

Jeff Thompson
Negotiation Experience is Not Expertise (1/31/14)
Jeff Thompson
10,000 hours. That is the amount frequently cited as the number of hours it requires to be an expert in something. Is there a difference between an being experienced negotiator and an expert?

Jason Dykstra
Why Your Leadership Title Means Zilch (1/31/14)
Jason Dykstra
I remember my mother making me write letters to some youth about something that I did when I was a teenager. She said to me, “You’re a leader now, other kids will be looking up to you so you need to set a good example!” I didn’t want to be a leader, I had never asked to be one. It’s not something that I had consciously signed up for. It was the day I was told to become a conscious leader.

Michael A. Zeytoonian
If You and Your Lawyer Really Do Want to Negotiate… (1/31/14)
Michael A. Zeytoonian
In every dispute a client calls me in to work to resolve, my first inquiry with the other side is to discuss the possibility of early resolution. If we can explore this option even before any litigation has been initiated, it’s even better.

F. Peter Phillips
IBA Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration (1/24/14)
F. Peter Phillips
The International Bar Association has been responsible for several definitive guidelines to assist practitioners in international arbitration. These include the 2010 Guide for Drafting International Arbitration Agreements, the 2010 Rules for Taking of Evidence, and the 2004 Guide on Conflicts of Interest. To this we now add the IBA Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration, adopted by the IBA Council on May 25, 2013.

Jeff Thompson
Hey Kid, Stop Using Twitter During Negotiation Standoff (1/24/14)
Jeff Thompson
Social media has increasingly become part of crisis and hostage situations. The role social media ranges from messages being posted by the subject leading up to the incident, the subject and victims posting during the incident as well as the police, and finally the police sharing information post-incident.

Beth Graham
Apple & Samsung Agree to Mediation (1/24/14)
Beth Graham
Electronics giants Apple, Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have reportedly agreed to engage in mediation over the companies’ latest technology dispute. In Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., No. 11-1846 (N. D. California), the two smartphone manufacturers are once again at odds over patented technology related to Samsung’s Android operating system.

Jeff Thompson
The "Little Things" That Go On During A Mediation (1/24/14)
Jeff Thompson
The brain “sees” objects that you don’t perceive. This article teaches you to consider the impact of all of the "Little Things" that go on during a mediation.

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