Mediation Humor Articles
The team at JAMS has finally been able to videotape a mediation to present the mediation process. This video aims to increase transparency of the process and to help clients understand how hard mediators work for them. JAMS promises that this is a real mediation and that all of the participants have agreed to allow this video to be public.
One thing that I have noticed from watching Fairly Legal is that Kate Reed is so effective at her job, not just because the skills come naturally to her, but also because she is very comfortable with the process. She doesn't have to waste time thinking about when to consult an expert, what constitutes as legal advice, what is a break of confidentiality, what is an enforceable agreement, and what are the parties real interests. This shows me that she has years of training and practice which, combined with her natural skills, have created a very effective (albeit slightly wacky) mediator.
Boundaries are about managing how we interface with one another. They come up when we need space, when someone’s behavior makes us uncomfortable or angry, or when problems from work migrate into your personal life. However, setting boundaries doesn’t always mean ‘taking distance’.
Emotional involvement is the idea that each party in a conflict has some personal feelings concerning the dispute. As mediators we are taught to remain neutral, thus fundamentally non-emotionally involved. However, the TV series portrays a mediator being so emotional about the disputes she handles that all ethics and dispute resolution practices go out the window. Kate Reed wears many hats, a mediator, a lawyer, a detective and sometimes even a defendant. With her trusty assistant, she is able to not only solve disputes, but as she puts it, “Solve your problems.”
Lady Gaga: “Trust is like a mirror, you can fix it if it’s broken, but you can still see the crack in that mother f#ck*r’s reflection.” Whether you’re a superstar dealing with a large group of fans or whether you’re a ‘regular’ person in a relationship, trust impacts us all. Trust is the lifeblood of relationships. Without it, friendships would simply have no point, romance would wither away and die… Trust even gives us stability and satisfaction at work. But what is trust exactly? Is it a feeling? A perspective? Can we actually ‘manage’ it?
(1/25/12)Hatch Brenner LLP
A comedic approach to understanding the mediation process by the Hatch Brenner law firm.
Monique McKay discusses gift options for mediators. She has put together some unique "peace" ideas, and invites more suggestions.
There’s been a lot of Oprah talk over the past few weeks as her daytime talk show wraps up after 25 years on the air. Like a lot of people I’ve been watching on and off the entire time and find myself reflecting on how my life is different/better/inspired because of Oprah and her guests.
There is a growing body of scientific and historical evidence that humor, or the ability to even temporarily change your emotional landscape, does indeed have dramatic medicinal benefits.
Humor in life is wherever you find it, but divorce mediations aren’t exactly the best venues for humor…or are they?
(10/31/10)William E. Hartgering
William Hartgering explains the satisfaction he gets out of mediating and seeing parties change throughout the process.
The last time the author published a list of mediation jokes, there was a bit of an uproar. Is this new list of mediation jokes as funny or controversial?
This one-hour video is of Jim Melamed's plenary presentation to the Utah Council on Conflict Resolution and Utah Law School on "what works in mediation and how the mediation industry can best move forward."
Jay Folberg tells of observing his pawn broker father as he bargained with customers. He claims the key to his father's success was figuring out what people's needs were and how to then meet those needs.
While reading this opinion (or simply this post) think about Carrie Prejean's accusation that Larry King's question to her -- "why did you settle" --was "completely inappropriate" because (presumably) her thought process was protected by mediation confidentiality.
The saga of Carrie Prejean, the Miss California contestant for the Miss USA pageant who came out against gay marriage, had a picture of her breasts “accidentally” exposed during a photo shoot, and who sued the Pageant, which then countersued to get back their money for her breast implants, and who then settled the case when a sex tape was discovered of her, is still in the news. But this time, she took on Larry “Inappropriate” King for the ultimate fight about mediation confidentiality.
There is much discussion on whether or not mediation is a profession yet one of the defining marks of a profession is when you can tell jokes about its practitioners. The truth of this observation is the public must know enough about the profession, even if only a caricature or stereotype image, to find the joke humorous. While there are a few mediation jokes around and several cartoons I don’t think we yet have reached that point. Nevertheless, I also think jokes are important to a professions self-identity and we certainly can have a go of poking fun at ourselves. So below are a few jokes I have written that hopefully might tickle our collective funny bone.
Multi-party facilitations often reach such levels of complexity that the facilitator must be thoroughly prepared. However, things often don’t eventuate the way we predict and preparation alone is not enough to avoid a possible de-railing of the process. A skilled facilitator must be able to manage unexpected group dynamics in a similar way to a jazz musician taking part in an improvised performance.
(7/06/09)Luis Miguel Diaz
A mediator ridiculing mediation is healthy exercise. With humor any conflict is source of entertainment; clowns are funny because they deal with conflict.
Michael McWilliams describes the ideal character traits of a mediator: patient, listener, understanding, flexible, and using humor - though, carefully.
Litigation continues in John Cleese’s third divorce – along with payments by Cleese of £900,000 a year – much to his chagrin. Cleese suggested to his wife that it would be easier and fairer to go to mediation, but is facing an aggressive litigator. By contrast, Cleese stated that his first two divorces were “very peaceful” and civilized using mediation.
Telegraph.co.uk (July 24, 2008)
Some years ago I started a post with 'Yeah well, I'm not sure that I get the whole 'mediators can learn from improv comedy' thing to be honest...'But since then I have read the wonderfully refreshing Improvisational Negotiation by Jeff Krivis and talked to him about the connections between jazz and mediation. And when someone like Jeff says this is the next frontier for mediators, you better listen up.So I wasn't surprised to hear music coming from Jeff's classroom at Pepperdine where he was...
I admit it. I was a newspaper addict. A three-paper-a-day addict. Mornings before leaving for work, there was the Boston Globe, followed by The New York Times. These took an hour of my time. Then after work, the local afternoon daily, The Patriot Ledger. Mine was a seven-day-a-week habit, with Sunday mornings spent luxuriating in the extra time to peruse my Sunday papers.
What does conflict management have to do with comedy? A lot, it turns out. To be funny, to elevate another person (or, say, a large audience) one has to be present and very much in tune with the other. A merging of sorts takes place. A shift from pity to pathos takes place. A shift from separation to unification takes place.
(1/28/08)Diane J. Levin
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On the ABA Journal Daily News web site, the Question of the Week asks “Which Songs Would You Choose for a Lawyer’s Playlist?”
A few of the usual suspects are suggested, including “Lawyers, Guns and Money” by the immortal Warren Zevon.
In time for Friday and the weekend, here’s a proposed playlist for mediators. (And no, “Kumbaya” does not make the cut. Not on my list, pal.)
Walk a Mile in My Shoes, Joe South
We Can Work It Out, John Lennon and...