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Michael Leathes



Michael Leathes

Michael Leathes is a Director of the International Mediation Institute (IMI). He spent much of his career as an in-house counsel for a number of international corporations in a variety of roles, including General Counsel of Pfizer International (1984-87), General Counsel of International Distillers & Vintners Limited (1992-97) and Head of Intellectual Property of BAT (1997-2006). He has spent much of that in-house career managing disputes around the world.




Contact Michael Leathes

Website: www.imimediation.org

Articles and Video:

The Urgent Need For Data: Are the Needs of Users and the Dispute Resolution Market Misaligned? (11/07/14)
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.

Harvesting Data to Shape the Future of International Dispute Resolution (09/22/14)
Among the early words of wisdom expressed by Sherlock Holmes was this classic line: "I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." And so it is with dispute resolution. There is a paucity of reliable statistics out there to enable users of dispute resolution services, as well as advisers, providers, educators, adjudicators and policymakers, to understand how best to prepare and steer ourselves for the future.

Time for a Mediator’s Hippocratic Oath? (08/19/14)
It is one of the defining characteristics of professions whose stakeholders invest great trust in their practitioners. Doctors make the Hippocratic Oath. Accountants, lawyers, police officers, elected officials, social workers, veterinarians and others in a position of trust also make various forms of oaths. Yet mediators do not make an oath, even though mediators are invariably taken into parties’ trust. Should mediators make a Hippocratic-style oath?

Book Review: The Variegated Landscape of Mediation (07/31/14)
Never before has an attempt been made to capture the distinctive qualities and differences that combine to make mediation eclectic and also truly comprehensible. Until now. The Variegated Landscape of Mediation (Eleven International Publishing, July 2014) is a collaboration of around 90 of mediation's thought leaders from around the world. It is the first work that explains on a global plane how mediation has cross-pollinated itself into such a kaleidoscopic display of both consistent and contradictory features.

20 Questions Every Corporate General Counsel or Head of Litigation Might Ask in Mediation (07/11/14)
Being responsible for resolving a large number of disputes for any organization is a stressful occupation. It involves risk, cost and resources and navigating between leadership and management, success and failure as well as blame and experimentation. Although there is no magic bullet, the task can be aided considerably by harvesting the answers to the following twenty questions, and devising an action plan where weaknesses are exposed.

20 Questions Every Corporate General Counsel or Head of Litigation Might Very Well Ask (07/09/14)
Being responsible for resolving a large number of disputes for any organization is a stressful occupation. It involves risk, cost and resources and navigating between leadership and management, success and failure as well as blame and experimentation. Although there is no magic bullet, the task can be aided considerably by harvesting the answers to the following twenty questions, and devising an action plan where weaknesses are exposed.

The Dispute Resolution Dilemma: Opt-In or Opt-Out? (05/23/14)
In his now famous Stanford Commencement Address in June 2005, Steve Jobs remarked: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life…. [and] to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”

Time for Another Big Bang in Alternative Dispute Resolution - The World Needs a Global Pound Conference (01/23/14)
ADR is sleepwalking globally.  It needs to be shaken out of its slumber.  There is a way to do it. A truly Global Pound Conference!

Engineering Peace - Achieving the promise of mediation in the world's most difficult conflicts (09/16/13)
Achieving the promise of mediation in conflicts that threaten the stability of societies and economies is one of the most important challenges of our time. Inspiring progress has been made in the past few years by the UN, and political leaders increasingly perceive mediation as vital for avoiding and resolving conflict at all levels in society, worldwide. Yet in individual cases mediation is rarely used as an avoidance and prevention process, and left until conflicts have escalated to the point that achieving a timely negotiated outcome, or avoiding a catastrophe, is virtually out of reach.

The Future of ADR in 2020 (10/12/12)
This article discusses the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of mediation. This is an edited version of the Opening Plenary Keynote Speech at the Inaugural 5C's ADR Conference held at the Supreme Court of Singapore on October 4-5 2012.

Stop Shoveling Smoke! Give Users a Classic Definition of Mediation (09/12/11)
Mediation needs one classic definition of itself. In a field widely populated by lawyers, professionals who the great jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. noted spend a great deal of time shovelling smoke, we have literally hundreds of different published definitions of mediation.

Mediator Competency is like Truth, Beauty and Contact Lenses... Why the fifth mechanism to assure users about mediator quality really works (06/09/11)
In some places, interior designers, dog-walkers and florists are now jobs that need to be licensed.  How mediators have escaped until now is a wonder, but it’s coming. 

2020 Vision - Where In the World Will Mediation Be In 10 Years? (11/17/10)
Where could mediation be in 10 years time? Can stakeholders realistically exert a significant positive influence on the field’s future progression?

International and Comparative Mediation: Legal Perspectives (Book Review) (09/27/10)
What marks this book out as exceptional, valuable, inspiring and even myth-busting is its contemporary focus on the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the practice of mediation - in civil and common law jurisdictions and also at a transnational level - and the engaging way it is written and presented.

Mediation Representation: Advocating As A Problem-Solver In Any Country Or Culture (Book Review) (05/03/10)
Gladiatorial attorneys the world over are probably the single greatest barrier to a successful negotiated outcome. By not consciously adapting their style from the "I Gonna Win/You Gonna Lose" approach characterized by litigation and arbitration, attorneys representing clients in mediation can seriously impede, miss and even block the greater benefits for their clients potentially available from a negotiated outcome.

A Perfect Storm is Gathering (02/18/09)
A Perfect Storm is gathering, comprising the effects of severe economic downturn, the alacrity with which corporate law departments seek greater transparency and outcome certainty, and new tools in the field of information and communication technology. This convergence provokes serious changes in attitude and approach by all dispute resolution stakeholders – especially trial lawyers, mediators and mediation provider organizations. The status quo has had its day. Good news for those nimble enough to adapt quickly. This article is jointly written by a group of twelve institutional users of mediation services.

Mediators in Need of Momentum: ADR in Europe (01/13/03)
Mediation got off to a good start in Europe. Heralded as a solution to clogged-up courts, spiralling legal fees and business relationships torn apart by gladiatorial lawyers, it enjoyed a big initial take-up in some countries during the early and mid-1990s. However, the movement towards alternative dispute resolution is in danger of stalling in Europe.



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