Comments: Not The Smartest Person In The Conference Room

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Jim Halpert, san francisco ca   12/06/08
Actually, some of the best mediators are retired judges and attorneys. Attorneys and judges are not "cursed with knowledge." The attorneys who mediate who do not "think outside the box" are simply bad mediators. A mediator needs to have many tools at his disposal. Should one of those tools be a thorough understanding of the law, then he has a great advantage. Having this knowledge is like being a Master Jedi is skiled in all ways of the force. You must use it only when absolutely necessary. But if you ask me, I'd still like to be a Master Jedi.

Jim Halpert, san francisco ca   12/06/08
Actually, some of the best mediators are retired judges and attorneys. Attorneys and judges are not "cursed with knowledge." The attorneys who mediate who do not "think outside the box" are simply bad mediators. A mediator needs to have many tools at his disposal. Should one of those tools be a thorough understanding of the law, then he has a great advantage. Having this knowledge is like being a Master Jedi is skiled in all ways of the force. You must use it only when absolutely necessary. But if you ask me, I'd still like to be a Master Jedi.

James W Preston, Sr., Washington DC  jamespreston@justiceandmediation.com     11/10/08
My sentiments exactly. As a non-attorney mediator and a practicing EEO advocate, who has sat on both sides of the conference table, we are not blinded by the intricacies of law and how attorneys view a dispute. However, it's sometimes helpful to understand how lawyers or other advocates view the same issue; that's a learning opportunity. Regardless of who is in the room, the mediator must never loose sight of the fact that the mediation process belongs to him/her, and the content of the dispute is (owned) by the parties who are in disagreement. Regardless of stripe, the mediator is to ensure that both parties get heard, options toward resolution are explored, and creativity is used to help guide the disputants toward mutual and successful resolution. The parties in dispute should never have the feeling that the mediation process has been highjacked by the mediator, and the settlement agreement is something that the mediator wanted and not them.

Shelly , Tulsa OK  shkamm@tulsamedation.com     11/05/08
Comments: Not The Smartest Person In The Conference Room
Alex, I enjoyed your article. As a non-attorney mediator who owns an office where we mediate as well as train mediators in the state, I still run across this feeling from attorneys who often times are there by order of the court. Thank you for your insight.