The recent Divorced Ireland series in the Irish Times has highlighted the challenges people face in dealing with separation, particularly when children are involved. Faced with the breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship, many people see court as being the only avenue open to them. Mediation offers an alternative to this. In family mediation, trained professional mediators assist couples in negotiating the profound changes their family is going through, with a view to reaching an agreement that will work for everyone.
Lawyers and mediators sometimes fail to appreciate that a mediation requires as much advance planning and consideration of strategy as a trial. Too often, lawyers (and some mediators) pick up the file a day or two in advance (at best) and wing it, relying on their advocacy skills and smarts to negotiate their way through the mediation day. This approach does not serve the needs of everyone involved. By using the following mediation countdown, everyone will come to the table prepared.
Israel is prepared to act a mediator between Russia and Ukraine, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday in an interview with the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. "Israel's neutrality in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is the most reasonable position but neutrality does not mean inaction," Lieberman said ahead of a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. "We have good relations with both countries. Moscow and Kiev trust us." "This is a good basis for mediation efforts. We have repeatedly said that we were ready to deploy and these are not only statements," he added. "It is precisely because we are from these countries that we can understand both parties."
New research suggests that reducing conflict between work and familial responsibilities help people sleep better. A multi-institution of researchers found that workers who participated in an intervention aimed at reducing conflict between work and familial responsibilities slept an hour more each week and reported greater sleep sufficiency than those who did not participate in the intervention.
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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.
Gender and Decision-Making (10/24/14) Maria Simpson Men and women are pretty much equally good decision-makers when under low stress levels, but “When stressed, men are more prone to taking risky bets with little payoff.”
The Mediator's Log: A Mediation Story - Section 2 (10/21/14) John Sturrock Part 1 discusses a typical mediator's morning, where all of the details of the case and the arguments are revealed. This section, Part 2, discusses a mediator's afternoon, where he uses all of his tools to help the parties understand each other.
Trade Secret Mediation: Negotiating Beyond the Distrust (10/21/14) Erica Bristol Trade secret litigation often involves deep levels of distrust, suspicion, and anger on the part of parties and counsel. To avoid trial, the plaintiff must negotiate with the thief, adding insult to injury. The defendant may express outrage at being accused of theft, and suspect the litigation is merely a “fishing expedition” to uncover the defendant’s own trade secrets. How then can the parties overcome these issues and reach agreement during mediation? This article provides counsel with information and suggestions for successfully mediating trade secret disputes.
Occupy Central: Resolving the Current Impasse (10/13/14) Jody Sin Occupy Central (“OC”) has been promoted as a peaceful civil disobedience movement in Hong Kong where the leaders of OC mobilize masses of protestors to blockade Central District to fight for what they consider as genuine universal suffrage. These skirmishes are becoming increasingly violent, and it is time to find a non-violent end to this conflict.
When You Might Need Mediation After Divorce (10/13/14) Cris Pastore When the divorce mediation process succeeds, spouses and their families often report a tremendous benefit from having chosen the option. However, there are still times when ex-spouses, even if they remain amicable after divorce, may need post-divorce mediation.
Recognition of International Arbitration in Ukraine in Figures (10/13/14) Konstantin Pilikov Arbitration practitioners often put Ukraine below the average ranking of countries in terms of recognition of arbitration. Ukraine’s image of a not entirely arbitration-friendly jurisdiction is “promoted” with common thought about problematicenforcement of arbitral awards in Ukraine. However, in recent years Ukrainian legal system demonstrated significant progress in adherence to the arbitration-friendly approach. That progress had been measured during the study resulted in the research paper “Ukraine. Arbitration-friendly jurisdiction: statistical report, 2011-2012”
Seal It With a Kiss (10/13/14) Michael P. Carbone Justice Antonin Scalia was in the Bay Area recently, speaking to students at the University of San Francisco School of Law. On the subject of trial advocacy he told them that they should learn how to take a complex case and make it sound simple.
Compassion for Your Clients (10/13/14) Sarah Peyton One surprising way to think about trauma is not by measuring the magnitude of the horrific event, but rather by measuring the extent to which the person who experiences the tragedy is left alone with it. This article provides a useful reminder that we can never understand the pain that our clients have encountered, and that we might be providing one of the only safe places in their life for them to discuss what they are going through.
Creating A Foundation for Cohabitation (10/03/14) Halee Burg You are in a committed relationship. You and your significant other desire to live together but are not ready for or interested in marriage. You decide to rent or purchase a property together, or to move into a place one of you currently rents or owns. You are in good company, joining over eight million cohabiting couples in the United States.