Comments: Preventing The Death Of Mediation

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Donald  Adams, San Diego Ca     05/20/06
Education and Networking equals success
This article is so very true. Both Attorneys and clients do walk into a mediation with th intent of shutting down, or just not wanting to participate. Mediators have to be flexible enough to change styles. I have recently found success with the Facilitative style then change to Evaluative style after hearing opening statements. Both sides tend to snap to attention when I call for a caucus with just the attorneys and then individual attorneys. I also find that if you know the numbers for Auto PI and what is needed to make attorney, client, and Medical facility happy. Your'e 90% there. After getting educated on the numbers I have turned around a once hated sector. I now love to get Auto tort PI from Los angeles county superior court. Its all in the networking and education from other Mediators.

David Levin, Albuquerque NM   11/16/04
The metaphor of human life stages is fascinating. There are, sadly, some accurate comparisons. However, the evolution of life stages may not end with arrival at "adulthood". I observe many of the related symptoms in our court system and community. Yet, there continue to be stages of evolution, including new generations of professionals entering and re-invigorating the system. I would be interested in seeing the metaphor applied prospectively to include additional life stages. The value of the metaphor may be still fuller.

Annie , Australia   11/10/04
It was interesting to read an article which reflects a growing uneasiness that I have felt for some time but have not been able to put my finger on. I am an adminsitrator of a community based mediation program which is also part of a government agency and which takes court referred matters. In the past few years there have been enormous pressures on our service to expand the geographical coverage of the service but at the same time to reduce costs. The cost reductions have been in staff involved in pre-mediation and mediator supervision and in dedicated spaces away from courts in which to conduct mediation sessions. The effect of all of this has been to take court referrals rather than the more expensive option of working within communities to help resolve disputes before they even get to court. It also means we often mediate within the court precincts often resulting in client confusion about the role and the process of mediation. It would seem that we have become the sausage factory we originally set out not to be.

r.d.  , Portland OR     08/04/04
***** (this is a five star article)
This article should be required reading for any mediators who practice within the gravitational pull of a court system. I continue to be dismayed with the increasing number of mediators who consider their clients to be either the referring court or the attorneys who have directed the matter to them. With the continuing institutionalization and legalization of mediaton---mediaton being seen as little more than an adjunct service of the court---there is grave danger that the core principles of mediation will be lost in the near future. A few years back, I considered some of my concerns that Krivis documents as having been unfortunately realized, in a piece titled, "Mediation as a Subversive Activity" ( Then, I talked about be careful of what you wish for....Courts have given mediation a great boost and legitimized the process; however, courts might also be the source of mediocritizing and diluting mediation beyond recognition. It is already happening. In some places where mediation is mandated----Florida, Texas, Indiana, and California---mediation is beginning to acquire a tarnished image as just another hoop to be jumped through before trial and not to be taken seriously. Much as Krivis points out. I'm not sure of the answers. At this point, however, I am disturbed that so few appear to be aware of the issues Krivis so aptly notes.

Lester H. Berkson , Zephyr Cove Nv   06/06/04
As a settlement judge mediator for the nevada Supreme court I handle court mandated mediations on civil cases appealed to the Nv Sp Ct. Since the start of the program over 7 years ago about 56 per cent of the mandated cases have settled. I enjoyed your article but feel court mandated mediation is still in its infancy and is necessary to bring realisim to the individual party defendants and Plaintiffs.

Lawrence King, Denver CO   06/03/04
Provocative article! Even as a full-time family mediator (and I think Mr. Krivis' focus was more on civil cases), I share in many of its laments and agree in several of its recommendations.