When Padraig O'Malley says we must talk to Islamic State, he's speaking from experience. A seasoned mediator, O'Malley brought together warring parties in Iraq at the height of the sectarian conflict in 2007 and 2008, resulting in an agreement that formed the basis for political reconciliation in Iraq and helped curb the violence. He did this with the aid of negotiators from South Africa, and from Northern Ireland, where he had been instrumental in organizing the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended 30 years of sectarian conflict.
The wheels are in motion for a resolution to the dispute over usage and the funding model for the shared city and San Mateo Union High School District pool at Burlingame High School, while some are speaking out about their dismay regarding the tumultuous relationship between the two entities. The district is backpedaling on a lawsuit it threatened last week that was in relation to the city of Burlingame not responding to the district’s request for additional space in the 50-meter Olympic size pool for its teams and more payments from the city for its usage. Now, the district and city are both expressing interest in finding common ground. Trustee Linda Lees Dwyer explained the board is forming a committee to analyze the city proposal to reach an amicable resolution by early 2015.
Long Beach city and school officials and other groups suing the city of Los Angeles over a controversial $500 million railyard project bordering West Long Beach will try to reach a settlement before the matter heads to trial next year. Three days of mediation is set to begin Wednesday in Santa Monica between the city of Los Angeles and the seven petitioners, which include the city of Long Beach, Long Beach Unified School District and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, said Michael Mais, assistant city attorney for Long Beach. The parties agreed to hire a judge with expertise in environmental matters found through a private alternative dispute resolution service that typically hires retired Supreme Court and federal court judges, Mais said.
Child & Family Services is launching a new mediation service aimed at veterans and their families. The program, operated by the agency's Center for Resolution and Justice, is funded by a $12,000 grant from the JAMS Foundation and the National Association for Community Mediation. It was among just six community mediation sites around the country funded through the program. Working with the five other centers, the organization will assess the need for mediation services for veterans and their families; build a pilot program; and provide leadership nationwide through training materials.
The custom of not make opening statements in certain parts of the country and in certain substantive case types has now led to not even having a joint session during some mediations. Except in the rare situation where there is the potential for violence, this is a mistake. The parties and their counsel should at least be willing to sit in the same room with one another for some period of time while the mediator explains the process and lays the groundwork for a productive day.
The Internal Revenue Service released a revenue procedure Friday providing rules for the nationwide rollout of post-appeals mediation for both Offer in Compromise and Trust Fund Recovery Penalty cases. The IRS Office of Appeals originally launched post-appeals mediation for both types of cases as a pilot program that was available in certain cities in December 2008 and is now expanding the program nationwide. Post-appeals mediation is available to help resolve disputes after unsuccessful negotiations with the IRS Office of Appeals and is available for both factual and legal issues. The mediator’s role is to help the parties reach their own agreement collaboratively, but the IRS noted that the mediator does not have settlement authority over any issue.
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Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. George Bernard Shaw
Mediations Are Supposed To Be Confidential... But Are They Really? (12/19/14) Phyllis Pollack Many times a mediator has analogized mediation confidentiality to the television ad, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" to explain the sacrosanct nature of mediation confidentiality. But, are mediations really confidential? This article was reposted to ensure mediators are fully aware of this important topic.
6 Reasons You Need a Prenup (12/19/14) Bruce Provda Many divorces happen because of financial problems. A prenup forces both parties to look at — and reveal — their financial picture. An open discussion about finance may help to build a firm foundation for marriage.
Police Academy IX: This Time It’s Interpersonal (12/19/14) Brad Heckman The New York Peace Institute recently conducted a mediation training for the NYPD. They have kindly shared how the training went, tips and tricks for training, and some insights into the cross-over between police and mediation.
Claiming Mediation's Future (12/15/14) Elinor Robin, Susan Dubow Our own article on the future of mediation focuses on emerging trends and untapped potential. In addition we decided to write a response to “Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination” which was written by the esteemed Robert A. Baruch Bush, and Joseph P. Folger for Mediate.com in November 2014. We are not submitting this rebuttal in an attempt to change any one’s mind. Instead, as mediators we are generally fascinated with hearing, and telling, the rest of the story, so here it is…..
Agatha Christie Helped Me Be A More Effective Mediator (12/12/14) Elizabeth Kent This short article presents a technique that the author calls a "Miss Marple Moment." Through the use of parallel stories, a neutral may address attribution and perceived negative intentions, and assist participants in seeing their situation in a different light and help them reflect on their contributions to the conflict. Hopefully, it is a fun read, just like an Agatha Christie book.
Mediator Ethics and Professionalism: A Recipe for Success (12/12/14) Josefina Rendon I attended an interesting presentation on agreement writing and other mediation issues for advocates. One presenter talked in terms of moves, strategies, bluffs and get-away-with’s. The other talked in terms of good practice and ethical standards. Though the first mediator never advocated unethical conduct, the second struck me as a professional whose values and ethical standards were at the forefront of his practice.
Workplace Restoration Case Study (12/12/14) Jeanette Bicknell Relations between the account services team and the head of production (“Bob”) were at an all-time low. The “drama” was a distraction from business. The manager wanted people to be able to work together collaboratively as a team. She was tired of responding to complaints about Bob and wasn’t sure what to do. And she wanted a quick solution before key staff members left for vacation. So she turned to a mediator.
A Future of Social Technology In Support of Peace & Justice (12/08/14) Colin Rule I envision a world where our social technology is designed in a way that builds human empathy, identifies and resolves conflict early and effectively, and introduces an era of greater peace, justice, and happiness. It will take a lot of work to get there, and there will be a lot of bumps in the road, but I can see it plain as day. That’s my hope for the future of mediation.
The Conflict Pivot: A Must-Read for Mediators and Coaches - Book Review (12/05/14) Lorraine Segal In Tammy Lenski's latest book, The Conflict Pivot: Turning Conflict into Peace of Mind, I have discovered a rich resource that I can use in the moment while I’m working with clients, and which I can give to my clients to guide them when they're in the grip of a conflict. This article summarizes the book and explains why it is so valuable.
Mobbing at Work - en Espanol (12/05/14) Alicia Millán Este artículo intenta abarcar tres aspectos diferenciados aunque esenciales para el reconocimiento y tratamiento de este modo de violencia que tanto el Informe sobre Seguridad en el Trabajo de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (O.I.T.) como otras publicaciones especializadas en la materia y en Congresos y Eventos sobre el tema lo califican como “nueva plaga laboral del siglo XXI”.
Dealing with Difficult People (12/05/14) Jon Warner, John Radclyffe We have to face dealing with difficult people at any time in our lives (and at both work and in our home lives). But in general, it’s not so much that the people themselves are difficult (although there are exceptions to this of course), but it is more likely that we find their current behavior difficult to deal with at a particular point of time.
Our Mediation Future (12/02/14) Sam Imperati I have practiced ADR since 1992. I look back fondly and forward enthusiastically with great hope. In thinking about “what from our past has worked best and should be brought forward and emphasized,” I decided to review two law review articles I wrote early on in my career. What follows is a summary of what I thought then. It will be followed by summaries of two articles about what I think currently. This article will then conclude with my half-formed or mal-formed thoughts about the future.
Revisiting Reframing: Mediation and the Impact of “Spin” (12/01/14) Barbara Wilson In this brief piece I argue that it is time to revisit some of the existing critiques of mediation. I look again at the function of reframing, question whether it still warrants the essentialism attributed to it in practice, and explore some alternative strategies. I also argue that, as a consequence of contemporary manoeuvring by the state and the media, disputants may perceive reframing in mediation as a form of “spin”, defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the presentation of information in a particular way; a slant, especially a favourable one”.
Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination (12/01/14) Robert A. Baruch Bush, Joseph P. Folger For us and the colleagues we’ve worked with for many years, our first premise has always been that self-determination, or what we call empowerment, is the central and supreme value of mediation – a premise probably shared by many in the field. This is what we were struck by when we began, and believed was uniquely served by mediation. We believe in the value of upholding party choice, and we also believe that increasing understanding, reaching sustainable resolution, and other goals all rest on the foundation of genuine party self-determination. At this point in the evolution of mediation, the question in our view is, what has happened to the mediator’s mission of supporting self-determination?
Some Good Questions (12/01/14) John Lande In 1998, commenting on the hot controversy about the “Rand Report’s” finding that certain mediation programs did not save time or money (measured in terms of lawyers’ work hours), Professor Craig McEwen argued that it was the wrong question to ask whether “mediation works.”
Predicting the Future of Mediation (11/26/14) Peter Adler I should know better and follow the advice a friend once gave me when he said: “Peter, a shut mouth gathers no foot.” On the other hand, who in the world could possibly resist an invitation from www.mediate.com to opine on the future of something near and dear to my heart and happily rekindle some old quarrels with colleagues?
Fear Comes to School: Mediating Among Parents Around Ebola (11/21/14) Richard Barbieri As medical personnel, emergency aid workers, and diplomatic personnel return to the U.S. from West Africa, schools must manage tensions between local families who are fearful for their own children, and parents who have been at the front lines attempting to stem the epidemic. What mediator strategies may prove useful?
Is Conflict Always Negative (or Where is the Tiger)? (11/21/14) Mac Bogert Once upon a time, when we lived among the tigers, we wisely kept our threat detectors on sensitive.1 With no time to think, when seconds might make the difference between having and being dinner, we reacted, and quickly. Knee-jerk made sense as time was usually on the tiger’s side.
Arbitration in Evolution (11/14/14) Beth Graham The arbitration survey conducted by Professor Tom Stipanowich and the Straus Institute revealed current practices and trends in arbitration. This article specifically examines the demographics of the arbitrators and questions whether these demographics are the best for the business.
The Case for Dispute Resolution Clauses in Contracts (11/11/14) Michael A. Zeytoonian I am fortunate enough to have some great clients. They do their jobs well, they run their businesses and organizations well. Because they do things right, I have less “back end” (reactive) work from them because they don’t get many claims against them. That is partly because we work together on the “front end” (proactive) work of anticipating issues before they arise and preventively address them.
Reflections on the State and Future of Commercial Arbitration (11/11/14) Beth Graham What may be most striking about these developments is that, until fairly recently, cost- and time-saving were often regarded as among the leading potential benefits of arbitration and a primary basis for distinguishing arbitration as an alternative to litigation. The growing prominence of these elements as perceived negatives of arbitration is therefore particularly troubling.
Themes in Mediation (11/10/14) Michael Scott Hidden beneath the arguments of a couple in mediation there is a repeating theme. The argument is like Joseph’s coat of many colors. Each disagreement on the surface appears to be about something different, like one of the many colors on the coat. Under the coat, however, there is only Joseph, who remains mostly unchanged.
The Urgent Need For Data: Are the Needs of Users and the Dispute Resolution Market Misaligned? (11/07/14) Deborah Masucci, Michael Leathes Seismic tremors emanating from London's Guildhall on October 29th 2014 are set to send change-inducing shockwaves, around the international dispute resolution community. It is widely known that dispute resolution's customers, the disputants, have different needs and interests from the supply side of the market such as external counsel, ADR providers, and educators. The shock comes from the initial data generated at this Convention, suggesting just how far out of alignment the supply side may be with the views and needs of the users. Additional data is needed on an international scale.
Sculpting a New Dispute Resolution Field (11/04/14) Jason Dykstra I’ve had the opportunity to talk with lots of mediators, coaches and consultants that have lost their passion. That twinkle that existed in their eyes has been beaten out - the spring in their step, flattened. They have gone from, “Yes! I believe in the beauty of conflict transforming people’s lives!” to “Yeah, I guess I could provide you with this service.” We’ve gone from looking at our craft as an opportunity to create a better world, to looking at our job to find a resolution and a pay cheque.
The Shocking Cost of Divorce in PA (10/31/14) Cris Pastore The added expense of living in two separate households may be obvious in a divorce case, but have you also budgeted for the cost of hiring a divorce lawyer to go to court? Read this article to gain a full understanding of the fees associated with a divorce lawyer and understand why divorce mediation may the better option for you.
Mediation will Get its Foot in a South African Door (10/31/14) Jacques Joubert A fortuitous incident one Monday morning changed everything for two disputees. The two trustees found themselves in the uncomfortable position of getting into the same lift. Without acknowledging each other’s presence they watched the doors close and felt the lift slide down from the 12th floor. It stayed stuck there for two hours - perhaps the most fortuitous two hours of their lives. For in those two hours they resolved a two-year long frozen conflict by talking to each other – person to person.
The Italian ADR Saga: a Machiavellian Plot, or Just Lawyers Without a Plan (10/24/14) Giuseppe dePalo Mediation has long been a matter of contention in Italy. First introduced by a government decree in 2011, mandatory mediation resulted in strikes by part of the legal profession, and was then quashed in 2012 by the country’s Constitutional Court. As the number of mediations dropped drastically after the court decision, in September 2013 Italy re-introduced the mandatory requirement. The country is still in the growing pains of a new system.
Dividing Stuff (10/24/14) Dr. Lynne C. Halem Most people do not think of their household belongings as assets. It is, after all, just “stuff”. Except, that is, if asked to view the stuff as property subject to division in divorce. Then, suddenly, even the smallest or most insignificant items are seen in a whole new light, indeed take on a whole new value.
Workplace Conflict – Putting It in Context (10/24/14) Jon Warner Many articles on workplace conflict miss out on a key subject area and one which is often best considered first – the context within which the conflict has arisen in the first place. In other words, we cannot consider a conflict situation in isolation from the circumstances in which it has occurred, and the key to its resolution may well lie as much in this contextual realm as it does in appreciating the conflict issue and the people involved in the dispute.