Trained at the Strauss Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University with special divorce mediation training under the tutelage of Jim Melamed of the Oregon Mediation Center, Alec Wisner brings a unique blend of experience and training to his mission. Thirty years of experience as an attorney, eighteen years of which were spent in hands-on business management provides Alec with the insight necessary to empower individuals during the stressful periods of conflict.
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Why I Mediate
Since I began my mediation career just seven years ago, the question that I have heard, almost continuously, from professional friends and acquaintances, personal friends, and from relatives, has been: "Alec, why in the world are you mediating?" There's always a follow-up statement, although this varies with the questioner.
Uncertainty Drives Conflict Resolution
In my experience, the more uncertain the attorneys and parties are about the outcome in court, the more amenable they will be to all the other solutions available to them in mediation. These solutions can include simple distributive negotiation, a mediator’s proposal, creative construction of terms, or anything else that works for the parties. The point to take with you is this: A party that feels certain, that it has little to lose, will feel that it has little motivation to go that extra step that invariably makes mediation successful. Your job is to dispel that certainty!
Mediating Commercial Relationships
In mediating commercial disputes, once all of the frills are stripped away, the dispute is very typically about money. The money can evince itself in a number of ways: one side paying the other cash; one side paying the other in specific performance; one side paying the other by refraining from competing, and so foregoing potential income, and so on. But, when the dust clears, the outcome is generally that money either does or doesn't change hands.
The Joys of Giving
At this time of year, everybody, myself included writes paeans to the gratitude we're supposed to feel during this holiday season, and opines that gratitude should not be a seasonal thing. All true, of course. But I want to remind all of us in the business of resolving conflict to be joyous in all that we give -- and not just during the holidays.
Moving The Goalposts: The Blowback
In my last blog post, I described, at length, my personal methodology in crafting a mediator's proposal. Today, I'm going to consider what I call the "blowback," which is the downside of the method itself. It's something that's always on my front burner whenever I'm actively involved in "moving the goalposts."
Exhilaration And Disappointment
How much better it would be if participants in mediation would stop being advocates wedded to their own positions and, instead, were able to honestly analyze their opponents' case and figure out what it will take to move their position.
Moving The Goalposts - How To Craft A Mediator's Proposal
In mediations involving commercial, business, contractual, employment, construction and insurance issues, the bottom line is most often dollars and cents. This is referred to as "distributive mediation," meaning that the size of the pie is predetermined, and the issue is limited to determining what size each claimant's slice will be. In my practice, I've developed a systemic method (sort of) through which I can narrow down my focus as much as possible in order to be able to insert my own proposal in a final effort to close the gap and obtain settlement.
Making Settlements Last
A settlement is meaningless if it the parties don't respect it. Parties who don't respect settlements simply see breach as another cost of doing business, accepting further litigation if they see the overall result to be profitable.