Scott , NH 11/14/03
It seems the “Alternative” portion of ADR has been left at the starting gate. Somewhere along the line the legal profession figured out how to make many legislators believe they are best suited to "help" people in conflict. The logical extension of that line of thinking assumes the public needs to be protected from non-lawyer practitioners. In reality however, ADR came into being as a practical alternative to the system invented and propagated by that same legal profession. My experience is the public welcomes the alternative and would view it as a great disservice if they were deprived of it.
Charlotte , Hannacroix NY 04/20/02
Unauthorized Practice of Law Reframed
Why not take the reframing process a step further? Let's redefine the unauthorized practice of law as any litigation commenced prior to exhausting all appropriate forms of ADR?
Dennis , Jupiter FL 03/17/01
It would seem to me that in an attempt to professionalize mediation practice that the lawyers involved in this matter have contradicted themselves.
In essence, they have created a dispute within the field of dispute resolution. Should the psychologists now too join in and claim that mediators are infringing on their territory as well.
Yes, we should have standards and credentials. No we do not need to limit such qualifications to a field that if completely effective as it stood would even need such an emergence of ADR practice.
Madge , Los Angeles 03/13/01
Non Lawyer mediators
I have to agree that as a non lawyer I am looked upon so much more positively for my mediations. Lawyers find it so refreshing to have a non lawyer. I agree that it is not about billable hours but emotions, feeling and empowerment.
Margaret , Washington D. 02/14/01
Increasing dependance on law
While I agree with the need to take action to prevent the "legalization" and parochialization of the practice of ADR, I feel the problem of hyper-sensitivity to legal pressures is more fundamental to society than to the practice of any single profession. The physician, teacher, therapist, and indeed anyone who makes a decision that affects another person, is subjected actively and passively to a nexus of laws that regulate their behavior. We seem to have collectively substituted legality for functionality and practicality, and legally defensible behavior for ethical and comassionate behavior. To me, it is no wonder that these are fundamental concerns to the practice of ADR, as well.
However, when surveying the landscape of the US market for mediation, I wonder whether this issue will be resolved not by action on the part of the mediator(s), but by the consumer, for whom the J.D. following a name seems to have an almost mystical power.
John , Lubbock TX 02/14/01
What is the root of the problem? Is it the practice of Law or the practice of economics?
The fallacy of the right of legal dominance over conflict resolution
In Canada, we find that judicial results in family matters are akin to attempting to predict the outcome of a slot machine. Lawyers and judges in private acknowledge the system just doesn't work.It is destructive and financially ruinous to both parties and to the ablity of both parties to support their children.
Any lawyer who suggests that only lawyers have the right or expertise to handle ADR situations effectively is denying their own training. Aside from their legal knowledge, they are the least qualified to deal with family conflict.
Family conflict is about emotions and feelings, not about law.
I have found in my practice as a non-lawyer mediator that I am most effective when I address their fears and needs (for control, vengence or other reasons) first.
Otherwise, we end up with a 'Settlement' that is more likely not to be honoured.
One need only look at labour relations to realize that a thin collective agreement environment has fewer grievances than one where the collective agreement is an inch or more thick.
My experience has been that lawyers are more interested in billable hours than in helping two people who used to love each other find ways to work together for the sake of their children.