I tend to agree that self determination is the goal of mediation. A good practitioner will have an INTAKE questionnaire for each attorney (we teach this in our trainings). The trust issue is developed and strengthened between the mediation buyer(atty) and the mediator during the Q&A. And guess what the mediator will know just what the atty knows about mediation and whether there will be a problem with either one due to strong advocacy bias.
Debra Healy, Portland OR 04/15/09
Is this truly an alternative?
Thank you for your article.
While I am not completely naive (others might disagree!), am in the legal field, and understand that the process described in your article is often (usually?) how cases involved in litigation unfold in mediation, it bothers me.
As a non-attorney mediator, I very deliberately chose not to pursue a degree in law. I wanted to be able to offer options to rights-based approaches for resolving conflict.
What bothers me about the outcome described in the article is that it's highly likely the participants came away with an extremely narrow perception of what mediation is and can be.
What if we were more proactive toward informing people about the very real choices that exist in approaches to resolving conflict? What if they were given an opportunity to educate themselves about these options?
As a proponent of self-determination, I believe we could be of great service by helping people become aware of the alternatives to rights-based dispute resolution so that every person could make an informed decision as to which approach might work best in a given situation.