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February 2015

  • South Dakota Senate OKs adding drainage mediation

    South Dakota should offer mediation services for landowners who are in drainage disputes, the state Senate decided Wednesday. Senators voted 32-2 for the legislation. Senate Bill 3 now goes to the House of Representatives. The mediation program would be operated with the state Department of Agriculture. The participants would pay for services. read

  • Can Atheistic China Play Conflict Mediator in ‘God’s Century’?

    In 2013 China shifted its principle of “non-interference in other countries” to one of active conflict resolution in some of the world’s most intractable contexts: Israel-Palestine, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. This shift reflects a growing confidence, certainly a growing need for China to be more globally engaged. But while it may be a welcome foray, its success will be muted at best unless China can overcome one major blind spot: religion. read

  • Do We Need a New York Convention for Mediation/Conciliation?

    The 1958 United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) is viewed by many as one of the most (if not the most) successful commercial treaties to which the United States has become a party. To date, 154 countries have signed the New York Convention. With this backdrop in mind, in July 2014 the United States submitted a proposal to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group II that it develop a convention on the enforcement of conciliated settlement agreements for international commercial disputes. In February 2015, UNCITRAL Working Group II held meetings in New York, where it considered this proposal with the goal of reporting to UNCITRAL on whether such a project was feasible. read

  • Alleged Prodfather Rabbi Mendel Epstein Claims To Be Mafia Mediator

    In an undercover video played at his federal kidnapping and extortion trial in Trenton, New Jersey Monday, Rabbi Mendel Epstein is seen telling undercover FBI agents that he works as a mediator in disputes with the Mafia, the New York Daily News reported. Epstein and three co-defendants, including his son and two other haredi rabbis, are charged in a kidnap-for-hire scheme meant to force recalcitrant husbands to issue their wives a Jewish bill of divorce known as a “get.” Among Epstein’s tools to achieve that aim was allegedly an electric cattle prod, earning him the moniker “The Prodfather” from New York City tabloids. read

  • Columbia conflict-mediation professor busted for punching boyfriend

    A professor who teaches city cops and firefighters how to cool down heated situations assaulted her ex-cop boyfriend because he allegedly cheated on her, police sources said. Joann Baney, 54, who teaches International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, was arrested Valentine’s Day, at 10:45 p.m., after she slugged retired NYPD sergeant Walter Frey,46, while he was sleeping, according to a criminal court complaint. “I hit him because he cheated on me,” she allegedly said at the scene while she was being arrested, the documents reveal. read

  • Could we have online family courts?

    The Online Dispute Resolution Advisory Group of the Civil Justice Council has published a report, in which it recommends the establishment of an Internet-based court service, to be known as ‘HM Online Court’ (HMOC). In his foreword to the report, the Master of the Roll Lord Dyson supports the idea, saying that online dispute resolution has “enormous potential for meeting the needs of the system and its users in the 21st Century.” read

  • Mediation speeds up judicial process in Turkey

    Dispute resolution or mediation introduced in Turkey in 2012 quickly gained popularity in the country where courts are burdened with a heavy workload and people complain of lengthy trials. In 2014, 259 cases were referred to mediators who succeeded in resolving 254 cases, according to figures provided by Justice Ministry's Department of Mediation. read

  • Mediation set in Griggs County Courthouse dispute

    A mediation session has been scheduled for March 3 in an attempt to resolve a year-long dispute over construction of a still-unfinished and vacant $3.5 million Griggs County Courthouse/Emergency Operations Center in Cooperstown. The three sides involved in the dispute – Griggs County, the Griggs County Building Authority and the general contractor, Construction Engineers, Grand Forks – have been at odds at least since last February, when the contractor threatened to stop working because of payment delays and contract language issues. Construction crews finally walked off the job in May, with the project estimated to be 90 to 95 percent completed. read

  • Agriculture mediation services available for farm-related disputes

    Mediation is a valuable tool for resolving the occasional agriculture-related dispute before it ends up in court. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announces that agricultural mediation services are now available to Virginia’s agriculture community through a partnership with the North Carolina Agriculture Mediation Program (NCAMP), which operates out of Western Carolina University.  read

  • Divorcing couples seeking more mediation

    Roseann Vanella sees more than her fair share of marriages ending in divorce. Typically, she said, couples aren’t happy to see her at first, especially when one spouse isn’t interested in pursuing a split. By the time her clients have completed the process of dissolving their union and dividing assets, they may view her as a good friend. read

  • Who Decides Res Judicata and Collateral Estoppel in Arbitration?

    Litigating parties recognize that both res judicata (claim preclusion) and collateral estoppel (issue preclusion) apply not only to court decisions but to those of an arbitrator as well. But what if following the judicial confirmation of an arbitration award, the losing party brings a second arbitration claim? The party successful in the first arbitration believes, however, that the new proceeding raises claims or issues that were resolved in the first arbitration. Who decides whether claim or issue preclusion should apply—the court that confirmed the initial award or the arbitrator appointed for the second arbitration? read

  • What mediation means for the archdiocese, insurers and victims

    The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 16, a step that allows the church to operate as usual while reorganizing its operations and paying its creditors. Federal bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel, who is overseeing the process, has ordered the archdiocese and its creditors into mediation, where the parties will attempt to negotiate a settlement to reorganize the archdiocese and compensate victims of clergy sexual abuses. Compromise is critical to mediation, as parties try to work toward a settlement that most — or many — can live with. If mediation is successful, the archdiocese and its creditors can avoid moving the process to a federal bankruptcy courtroom — where the process can be more contentious than negotiation. read

  • Mediator will help NCDOT and environmentalists settle Bonner Bridge fight

    A federal court mediator has been called in to help settle a bitter legal fight that, since 2011, has stalled construction of a replacement for the deteriorating Bonner Bridge on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday approved the mediation request filed jointly by the state Department of Transportation and its courtroom nemesis, the Southern Environmental Law Center. read

  • Justin Bieber Judge-Ordered To Paparazzo Mediation Despite Jet Cost, Other Objections

    Justin Bieber has been ordered by a judge to show in Miami next month for a mediation hearing in relation to a civil lawsuit filed against him by a paparazzo, instead of by video link as Bieber had requested. Paparazzo Jeffrey Binion claimed the singer ordered his bodyguards to rough him up after he was allegedly spotted taking taking pictures of the then 19-year-old outside Miami’s Hit Factory recording studio on June 5, 2013. Bieber denies the allegation. read

  • MLS and players union hire mediators for collective bargaining agreement

    With negotiations over new collective bargaining agreement seemingly at an impasse, MLS owners and the MLS Players Union have employed the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to help reach an agreement. An FMCS spokesman told ESPN FC that "FMCS mediators, at the joint request of MLS and the MLS Players Union, have begun the mediation process in the negotiations between the parties." read

  • Mediation demanded over school project pay

    The construction company that oversaw the $1.3 billion Buffalo schools renovation project is demanding mediation in its quest for $3.1 million that the Joint Schools Construction Board has refused to pay for work performed on two phases of the project. read

  • University of Houston Law Center wins ICC Mediation Competition 2015

    The University of Houston Law Center has won the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s 10th International Commercial Mediation Competition, taking the title after a thrilling final against the University of Sao Paolo.  Featuring some 150 mock mediation sessions based on real commercial disputes, the 2015 Competition tested the problem-solving skills of 67 teams from 34 countries. read

  • The most exhaustive list of ODR-providers

    The following list is based on my own research and the use of several sources. The list of about 98 ODR-providers compiled by attorney-at-law Axel Hellinger was taken into consideration as well as the list of 64 ODR-providers maintained by Also Melissa Conley Tyler’s 2004 paper "115 and Counting: The State of ODR 2004“ was taken into account. read

  • Data: Foreclosure mediation not big drag on market

    Some real estate professionals are blaming a law aimed at preventing foreclosures for slowing down the recovery of the housing market in the Baltimore metro area, but figures from the state regarding participation in the foreclosure mediation process raise doubts about the law’s impact on housing prices. read

2/15 2/12
  • China Offers To Mediate Afghan Talks

    hina has offered to play a "constructive role” in stalled efforts to engage the Afghan Taliban in peace negotiations. Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments at a joint press conference with Pakistani foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on February 12. Wang said China will support the Afghan government in “realizing reconciliation with various political factions, including the Taliban." He said Beijing would “provide necessary facilitation at any time if it is required by various parties in Afghanistan." read

  • More mediation: Detroit, counties to discuss water deal

    Detroit and suburban counties will attempt to resolve their differences over the creation of a regional water authority in mediation. U.S. District Judge Sean Cox will conduct additional confidential mediation proceedings in a bid to finalize a deal to create the Great Lakes Water Authority, which was considered a breakthrough settlement in the city's bankruptcy restructuring. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes revealed the onset of new discussions in a court filing today. He instructed parties to the discussions to keep the talks secret. read

  • Where to list? is worlds most visited mediation website, by a mile!, the leading website ranking service, reports that is the world's most visited mediation website, and not by a little.  Alexa reviews all websites in the world and reports that is the 115,020 largest site in the world as of February 1, 2015.  The lower the site rank, the more traffic the site receives.  The next most visited site,, is ranked at 1,260,625. AAA's website is ranked 4,951,487 read

  • Justice Department mediator at Rapid City racism forum

    A mediator from the Justice Department is in Rapid City in the wake of a civic center incident where Native American school children were allegedly subjected to abuse. Some community members expressed frustration at the apparent slow speed of the police investigation into the Jan. 24 incident at a Rapid City Rush hockey game where some white fans allegedly hurled slurs and beer on a group of 57 elementary students from American Horse School in Allen. read

  • Make Effective Mediation Your New Year's Resolution

    Week in-and-out, I attend mediations where the attorney hasn’t researched the legal issues, spoken with the client, made well-principled demands or listened to the mediator’s words of wisdom. Some attorneys even request that the mediator not speak to the client.  As we turn the page on a new year, below are some tips to consider for more effective mediation. read

  • Suit over social media posts concerning Silverado Senior Living in mediation

    Mediation is taking place in a suit brought by the children of a woman living in a Sugar Land nursing home who claim they have been banned from the facility because social media postings. read

  • Mediation ordered in former superintendent case

    An order for mediation has been entered in the criminal case against former Mason County School Superintendent Tim Moore. Moore was indicted in May 2014 on one count abuse of public trust $10,000 but less than $100,000 related to the findings of a special audit released in October 2012 by Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen. read

  • CAMP introduces mediation — dispute resolution that is collaborative and relationship enhancing

    “Today, in India, mediation is accessible largely through a court referral. We feel the time has come to expand the scope of mediation to the private space so that disputing parties are able to resolve their disputes without going to court,” says Tara Ollapally, mediator and Co-coordinator, Centre for Advanced Mediation Practice (CAMP). CAMP is one of the early players that tried to provide private mediation services through a panel of skilled and well trained mediators who are also legal professionals. read

  • Mediation planned to settle Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport runway dust-up

    Officials hope mediation of a federal lawsuit will put behind them the troubled project to replace the main runway at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. read

  • Mediation Advocacy – Countdown to a Successful Mediation

    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. read

  • Israel is prepared to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, Lieberman says

    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." read

January 2015

  • Mediation, an alternative to the divorce court

    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. read

  • Reducing Work-Family Conflicts in the Workplace May Help People to Sleep Better

    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. read

  • Schools, Legislature agree to mediation on inflation funding

    Lawyers for Arizona school districts and the state Legislature have agreed to participate in court-mediated talks aimed at resolving a dispute over inflation funding for schools. A spokeswoman for House Speaker David Gowan says the parties in the case voluntarily agreed to participate in the talks that will be mediated by a panel of three Court of Appeals judges. Gowan spokeswoman Stepanie Grisham declined to elaborate because the negotiations will be confidential. read

  • Saudi's new king, Salman, known as a mediator of disputes within royal family

    Saudi Arabia's new king, Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, is a veteran of the country's top leadership, versed in diplomacy from nearly 50 years as the governor of the capital Riyadh and known as a mediator of disputes within the sprawling royal family. Salman, 79, had increasingly taken on the duties of the king over the past year as his ailing predecessor and half-brother, Abdullah, became more incapacitated. Abdullah died before dawn on Friday at 90. Salman had served as defense minister since 2011 and so was head of the military as Saudi Arabia joined the United States and other Arab countries in carrying out airstrikes in Syria in 2014 against the Islamic State, the Sunni militant group that the kingdom began to see as a threat to its own stability. read

  • US settles case over fake Facebook page

    The Justice Department has reached a $134,000 settlement with a New York woman after federal drug agents used information from her cellphone to set up a fake Facebook page in her identity, a tactic that raised privacy concerns and led to a federal government review of the ruse, according to court papers filed Tuesday. The government did not admit wrongdoing as part of its settlement with Sondra Arquiett, which comes months after a judge referred both sides into mediation. After initially defending the practice, the Justice Department said last October that it would review whether the undercover tactic went too far, and ultimately reached what one official described as a fair outcome. read

  • Federal Judge Orders Archdiocese To Mediation With Abuse Victims

    The bankruptcy filing of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis was ordered out of the courtroom and into the conference room Tuesday when a judge sent the case to mediation. The archdiocese, its insurance companies and attorneys for abuse victims will attempt to reach a mediated settlement under an order from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel. Both church and victims’ attorneys welcomed the decision, which Kressel called the most efficient way to settle the bankruptcy. Mediation also will help keep attorney fees in check, both sides stressed. However, mediation will be held behind closed doors, removing most bankruptcy actions from the public eye. Kressel named Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan to oversee the mediation. read

  • Dayton Police Hold Community Mediation On Race

    Police Officers and folks just like us come together to talk frankly about race relations Friday (January 16th, 2015) night. A heated debate surrounding recent police shootings on the Dayton Police Department's Facebook page led two officers to take the conversation a step further. "When people are killed or murdered it's a tragedy and it creates tension in the community no matter how it happens," Dayton Mediation Center's Tom Wahlrab said Friday. That tension found an outlet in Trotwood Friday. Officers from Dayton, Trotwood, and Cincinnati sat down with the folks they serve and protect. DPD Officer Zachary Williams is one of the organizers who says folks have really opened up about their fears. read

  • Detroit bankruptcy shows mediation can get the job done

    The Detroit bankruptcy, which many feared would drag on for years while the city's citizens suffered, was completely resolved in 16 months on a fully consensual basis. Many have asked how this was achieved and what can be learned from the Detroit experience. Although there are no doubt numerous lessons, we believe that the most significant takeaway is that mediation — the resolution of disputes through confidential negotiations led by a neutral facilitator — can produce faster, more satisfying and less rancorous resolution of disputes, and that such an approach can and should be used in other public policy disputes. read

  • A growing alternative to criminal trials: Mediation

    Since the Idaho Supreme Court set rules in 2011, mediation has emerged as a potent way to help prosecutors and defense lawyers avoid costly and time-consuming trials - the same benefit mediators have provided in civil cases for decades. Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor started a pilot program a few years ago using mediation in Nampa misdemeanor cases. It worked so well that his office expanded the program to felony cases. read

  • Princeton: Everybody tight-lipped about court-ordered mediation on sex harassment suit by police officers

    Lawyers had court-ordered mediation last month to resolve a discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit that a group of Princeton police officers filed against the town, the police department and former chief David J. Dudeck. The Princeton Council was updated in closed session Monday, with officials spending roughly 15 minutes on the issue behind closed doors. Officials and lawyers said this week that they would not discuss what had transpired during mediation in early December or any other details, including the size of a proposed settlement offer that the officers have made to end their lawsuit. Six current officers and one former officer sued in September 2013 in state Superior Court alleging they were the victims of sexual harassment and discrimination. Their civil suit claims that, among other things, Mr. Dudeck would use sexually graphic language to mock the officers and asked them about their sex lives, among other things. read

  • Dealing With Difficult Individuals in Mediation

    Sometimes the difficult character is another attorney, and sometimes the difficult character is one of the parties. Either way, a difficult individual, if not handled appropriately, can derail the mediation and doom it to failure. It is also important to recognize who should attempt to handle the difficult individual. read

  • Is Collaborative Divorce just mediation in disguise?

    This slightly provocative question legitimately arises from the many similarities between the process, approaches, and techniques used in both collaborative divorce and mediation cases. Indeed, both focus on information gathering, goal identification, and option development before solution. Both use interest based approaches, and focus on client self-determination as a guiding principle. Both provide confidentiality and the flexibility to include other professionals within the process. And both rely heavily on active listening, reframing, and emotional acknowledgements. This might lead some to say that Collaborative Divorce is just like mediation, only directed by the collaborative counsel instead of the mediator(s). read

  • The Benefits Of Mediation - Even If You Don’t Settle

    There are times when clients or other lawyers say that they don’t want to go to mediation because they feel it will be a waste of time because the case has no chance of settling. In my experience, mediation very rarely is a waste of time. Here are a few reasons why. read

  • Good faith in mediation: is it enforceable?

    The obligation to negotiate in good faith is often found in commercial agreements. Commercial contracts will often include a Dispute Resolution Clause that provides that if a dispute arises in connection with the contract, a party must not commence court proceedings unless that party has participated in mediation in good faith. As well, there are certain circumstances where there is a legislative requirement to attend mediation and participate in good faith. read

  • Federal Mediator Hears Bitter Opposition as Freight Dispute on US West Coast Continues

    After reading the latest press releases from the two sides involved in the West Coast port dispute one can have nothing but sympathy for the federal mediators now charged with trying to bring harmony in what has become an increasingly acrimonious row. Both the workers, represented by the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU), and the employers in the form of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), issued statements yesterday which may as well have been in different languages, so at variance were they. read

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: what are the alternatives?

    Parties involved in modern litigation are increasingly encouraged to settle their disputes before the matter reaches trial. There is a range of options to try and help parties avoid Court, which are known collectively as "Alternative Dispute Resolution" or "ADR". The goal of ADR is to achieve a mutually satisfactory settlement that will save both parties the time and costs of litigation. The private and flexible nature of many of the options can also encourage the parties to speak more freely. This can assist in salvaging business relationships and reputations, making such methods far more appealing from a commercial perspective. ADR is a wide topic and the different options can be confusing. We therefore set out below an introduction to the forms of ADR that prove most useful for property disputes. read

  • Portland city attorneys seek mediation in city's appeal of federal judge's order regarding oversight of police reforms

    Portland city attorneys are scheduled to participate in a phone conference Wednesday to determine if the city's appeal of a federal judge' s order regarding his continued oversight of federally mandated police reforms is a case appropriate for mediation. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals mediator will start the call at 11 a.m. with attorneys from the city, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Portland Police Association to determine if the city's concerns can be resolved without a full appeal. read

  • Police union leader wants mediation with de Blasio

    Angered by City Hall, at least one NYPD union leader is going to ask Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to try and help broker peace between Mayor Bill de Blasio and rank-and-file cops. read

  • Moving from Preparation to Negotiation – How to Cause Failure in Mediation

    This article lists several actions by parties and counsel that can derail even the most straightforward mediation. read

  • How to Find a Good Divorce Mediator? Your Five Rules of Thumb

    If you came to the conclusion that you prefer to handle your divorce through mediation -- you have made the right choice. Choosing a good divorce mediator is an essential step, and crucial to the success of the process. Here are five rules of thumb in choosing the right mediator for your divorce. read

  • How To Win A China Arbitration

    Chinese companies are increasingly requiring their commercial contracts with American companies provide for disputes to be resolved by arbitration in China. This is especially true of China’s State Owned Entities (SOEs). Though most American companies believe that their nationality precludes them from getting a fair shake in such arbitrations, my own law firm’s experiences (mostly before CIETAC) have not borne this out. Our lawyers have generally felt that their arbitrators in China arbitrations have sought to be fair to both sides, without regard for the nationality of the parties. Here are some takeaways from the arbitration actions we have handled in China, with a focus on what it takes to prevail.  read

  • Be careful what you ask for in international arbitration

    Over the past 20 years, as the pace of economic globalization has accelerated, U.S. corporate counsel increasingly have been required to ponder the optimal dispute resolution mechanism to insert into their cross-border contracts, including whether to choose court litigation or international arbitration. The attitudes of corporate counsel toward international arbitration run the gamut. Energy companies, long accustomed to large investments in developing countries, are well familiar with international arbitration. Old line manufacturers who source materials from abroad or who sell products abroad, are also accustomed to international arbitration. By contrast, many technology companies, protective of their IP assets, prefer the U.S. courts to adjudicate intellectual property and complex commercial disputes and are wary of a process from which there is no right of appeal from a private arbitrator. As with all debates, the litigation versus arbitration decision is not black or white. read

  • Denver moves ahead with aerotropolis planning while mediation underway

    A consultant soon could begin drafting land use and transportation plans to map out an "aerotropolis" surrounding Denver International Airport. The planning process, outlined in a contract amendment under consideration by the City Council, may move forward while private mediation still is underway between Denver and its Adams County neighbors. They've wrangled over the city's aggressive plans for clusters of commercial development on DIA property. The Denver Post reported Monday that Mayor Michael Hancock says there has been significant progress in the talks and he's "optimistic" they will reach a resolution soon. But Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan — reacting to The Post's story — urged caution Monday. "For Denver to share in future development in that area requires discussions and negotiations that result in mutual agreement, and realistic expectations, not just optimism," Hogan said in a statement.  read

  • Mediation practice – when sorry seems to be the hardest word

    Last week I read a good post by US mediator Jan Schau about the power of a genuine apology in a mediation. She said, quite rightly, that an apology which is not perceived as genuine can do more harm than good. Anybody who has listened to the pre-recorded message of “regret” for yet another delayed commuter train will know exactly how this feels! So what makes an apology genuine? Or maybe more importantly, what will help it be perceived as genuine, whether it strictly is or not. read

December 2014

  • The Pillars of a Productive Mediation

    All too often, adversaries that try to mediate disputes walk away disappointed. In many cases, their frustration is caused by a lack of understanding of how successful mediation works, beginning with the development of a proper mindset. Mediation is the one time in a lawsuit where the parties and their attorneys control the process and decide the outcome, and should not be treated as a mock trial where you display the strength of your case. Over the years, as a mediator and as an advocate for clients in mediations, I have seen what works—and what does not work. Here, I outline what I view as the pillars of a productive mediation. read

  • Mediators Should Ask: How Are We Doing?

    In January 2006, the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution formed the Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality to investigate what factors define a "high quality" mediation practice. The 17 task force members were representative of diverse geographic, theoretical and substantive mediation practitioners and users of mediation services. After multiple focus groups in nine cities across the U.S. and Canada and reviewing more than 100 questionnaire responses, the task force noted that four specific issues consistently were identified as being important when evaluating mediation quality. read

  • West Coast port operators call for mediation as longshore talks stall

    After an exchange of proposals this month, the association representing the operators of West Coast ports called late Monday for federal mediation to resolve the contract talks with the longshore union. The Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have been discussing a new contract for union workers at 29 West Coast ports for about seven months. Cargo is continuing to move through the ports -- albeit at a slower than usual pace -- since the previous contract expired at the end of June. read

  • Vatican Mediation in US-Cuba Relations Applauded

    Pope Francis' involvement in helping Cuba and the United States improve diplomatic relations was seen as a positive step forward at the Vatican on Thursday. The pontiff congratulated the U.S. and Cuba on their decision to establish diplomatic relations Wednesday, and the Vatican said it was ready to support the strengthening of bilateral relations. The Vatican also confirmed in a statement that its diplomats facilitated talks between the two countries, "resulting in solutions acceptable to both parties.' read

  • Judge: Progress on mediation with tribes over settlement

    There has been “major progress” in settlement negotiations between the government and a group of Indian tribes over inadequate federal payments for support costs on public programs the tribes took over administering, a federal judge wrote last week. Federal Magistrate Judge Karen Molzen wrote in a Dec. 16 filing in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico that negotiations in the settlement process are ongoing. The negotiations are the result of a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of the tribes, including the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota, that is potentially worth millions of dollars. read

  • IBM, state agree to take welfare contract dispute to mediation

    The long-simmering, multimillion-dollar legal fight over a failed state welfare modernization project is headed to a mediator. Attorneys for the state and IBM Corp. this week submitted a report informing the Indiana Supreme Court “they have agreed to engage in mediation” and have selected John Van Winkle of Van Winkle-Baten Dispute Resolution as the mediator. read

  • Court of Appeal Says Mediation Confidentiality Does Not Apply to Family Law Financial Disclosures

    The mediation confidentiality statutes do not apply to mandatory family law financial disclosures, even if the required documents are exchanged during mediation, the Court of Appeal for this district has ruled. Div. Three Thursday granted a writ of mandate to Gina Lappe, the ex-wife of Beverly Hills physician and medical services entrepreneur Murray Lappe. The writ requires Murray Lappe to produce the financial disclosure declaration that he prepared for the couple’s 2011 divorce proceedings, as discovery material in connection with Gina Lappe’s motion to set aside the judgment on grounds of fraud, duress, perjury, and mistake. read

  • 'We Must Negotiate With Islamic State', Says Senior Mediator

    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. read

  • Mediation for pool dispute?: District backing off lawsuit; forms committee to look into city’s proposed cost-sharing

    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. read

  • Mediation process could avoid legal battle over West Long Beach SCIG railyard project

    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. read

  • Child & Family to pilot mediation service for veterans

    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. read

  • Why Are Attorneys Afraid of Conflict in Mediation?

    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. read

  • IRS Expands Post-Appeals Mediation for Offers in Compromise

    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. read

  • Tech Sector Coming Around to IP Arbitration

    Major technology companies, anxious to protect their intellectual property, have generally chosen litigation over arbitration—even in cross-border disputes. But that may be changing.
    Increasingly, computer, software and other tech companies are exploring arbitration as an alternative to litigation, especially in international disputes, lawyers say. “Tech companies are starting to realize they don’t have a choice,” said Cedric Chao, co-head of DLA Piper’s international arbitration practice. “They’re still wary of arbitration, but they’re coming around." read

  • Seventh Circuit Interprets Wisconsin's Mediation Privilege

    When Wisconsin’s legislature enacted the state’s so-called “mediation privilege” in Wis. Stat. § 904.085, it expressly sought, in subsection (1) of that provision, “to encourage the candor and cooperation of disputing parties, to the end that disputes may be quickly, fairly, and voluntarily settled.” The privilege itself provides that “no oral or written communication relating to a dispute in mediation” is admissible in evidence or discoverable in any judicial or administrative proceeding. Wis. Stat. § 904.085(3)(a). Exceptions to the privilege exist, but they are few in number and relatively narrow—a point driven home in the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, No. 13-3783 (7th Cir. Nov. 5, 2014), authored by Judge Ann Claire Williams. read

  • University of Oregon strike ends after 22-hour mediation session

    The strike by 1,500 University of Oregon graduate teaching fellows ended this morning after a 22-hour mediation session. Union officials said the new contract provides the teaching assistants with fair wages and a hardship fund to provide paid medical and family leave. Access to the fund is "protected by language in the collectively bargained agreement, and can be grieved if an employee is denied reasonable access to the fund," according to a statement from the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation. "I'm extremely proud of the graduate employees of GTFF," AFT-Oregon President David Rives said. "This contract is a monumental achievement for workers across all campuses." The union and supporters will hold a celebration rally at noon today at Matthew Knight Arena. The teaching assistants will return to work later today, union officials said. read

  • Pilots call for wider mediation in dispute with Lufthansa

    Pilots at Lufthansa have called for mediation to cover all areas of their dispute with the German airline's management, not only the early retirement row that has resulted in 10 strikes this year. Lufthansa offered last week to enter mediation to resolve the long-running dispute over early retirement benefits, seeking to halt the pummeling it was taking from repeated industrial action. The company estimated this week that labour strikes this year have cost it close to 200 million euros ($247.5 million) in operating profit. read

  • Expert Shares Top Tips for Mediation Preparation

    Preparation is key to a successful mediation, according to Kevin Quinley, founder and principal of Quinley Risk Associates. During a recent interview he shared his tips on how to best prepare for mediation. Quinley explained why adjusters are often wary of mediation. Adjusters suspect that the purpose of mediation often boils down to terrorizing them to pay more. Most mediators’ and judges’ stances towards adjusters at mediation is like Cuba Gooding’s character in “Jerry Maguire” show me the money,” said Quinley. "The starting premise of many, if not virtually all, mediations is it’s not whether the adjuster is going to pay. The only question is how much. That’s not a starting point that adjusters or many policyholders relish." read

  • The Art of Dialogue in Conflict Resolution: Mediation in Italy

    ROME, Italy—Prevention is better than a cure: that is just common sense. If applied in the field of justice, the slogan could prove once again to be right: the mediation instrument resolves conflicts before they go in front of a judge. Italy is a quarrelsome country, and the engulfed courtrooms are a proof. The European Commission has recently pointed out some serious shortcomings: Italy has the highest number of pending cases in relation to the population – 7 per 100 inhabitants, which means 9 million unresolved cases. Also, it takes more than 500 days to get a civil judgment at first degree (World Bank doubles this number), three times longer than France and Germany, which rank as the best in Europe. “In recent years we have seen how a culture of conflict has spread, rather than one of peaceful confrontation,” says attorney Irene Gionfriddo, spokesman for the Italian Forum of Ombudsmen, a non-profit organization that links a network of lawyers with private companies. read

  • Mediator's Proposals: God's Gift to Mediation or a Betrayal?

    Some 35 years ago, mediation was talked about in the United States as a tool to cure dissatisfactions with the civil justice system. The great early scholars of mediation — Frank Sanders, Christopher Moore, Leonard Riskin and others — envisioned a process focused on party autonomy that would allow disputants not merely to resolve an immediate legal problem, but to reorient their relationships into a productive path. Early mediations were usually conducted without counsel in a highly facilitative model in which the parties and the mediator remained together for all or most of the session. This model in legal mediations has largely given way as attorneys came to dominate the process. Legal mediation today relies heavily on private caucusing and has largely abandoned any substantive joint session. Mediators are likely to be highly directive, if not explicitly evaluative, in pushing the parties to an agreement. Party autonomy has receded, while the power of attorneys and the mediator to influence the result has expanded. One result of this evolution is the growing use of the mediator’s proposal to bring about closure. read

  • The Roger Sutton Fiasco and "Confidential" Mediation

    Equal employment opportunities commissioner Jackie Blue probably spoke for many this past week when she voiced her disquiet over Roger Sutton’s decision to speak publicly about a confidential sexual harassment case that led to his decision to step down from his role as CERA chief executive. read

  • Aging in Iowa: Mediation program aims to assist Iowa families with difficult aging issues

    Mom is growing older. Up to this point, she’s been driving by herself, but she is getting to the age when some family members are concerned about her safety. “It’s one of the big decisions that need to be made,” Iowa City-based mediator Laura Melton Tucker said. “When do (family members) put our foot down with mom and tell her we just aren’t comfortable with her driving anymore?” read

  • The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Settles Lawsuit Over White Bear Lake Water Levels

    The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently settled a lawsuit through mediation with plaintiffs over White Bear Lake water levels. Here are some questions and answers regarding the settlement and the agency’s ongoing efforts to advance long-term groundwater sustainability in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area. To see a copy of the settlement agreement, go to read

  • Woman to run 67 miles to raise money for mediation between families and prisoners

    At the center of a group embrace Friday outside Mondawmin Mall's bus depot, Lorig Charkoudian stood bundled up in three layers to help her stay warm on a 67-mile run to Hagerstown. The group — workers and volunteers from Community Mediation Maryland — said the conflict resolution program helps inmates stay out of prison for good by helping them repair relationships with their families. But first, they said, the program must make sure the families of the inmates can get to the prisons. That's where Charkoudian's run comes in. She's hoping to raise $10,000 in donations to pay for the $40 shuttle rides from Baltimore to Western Maryland, many of which leave from Mondawmin's depot. "In a way, the trip is a lot like the trip for the families," said Charkoudian, 41, an ultra-marathon runner who planned to travel 45 miles on foot Friday and another 22 miles on Saturday to the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown. read

  • Take a Selfie and Do Some Good for the Crown Heights Mediation Center

    Social media can be used to share news, opinions and cat pictures, but often, it’s also used by young people to promote violence, according to a local group. “When a fight breaks out, people pull out their phones and just yell ‘WorldStar’ and [they’re] ready to film it and put it online,” said Heather Day of the Crown Heights Mediation Center, an area nonprofit, referring to the popular video sharing site WorldStarHipHop. To combat that, kids at the mediation center are telling their peers it’s “not worth the likes,” Day said, one of the many anti-violence messages already sent through the group’s “#UNdoviolence” campaign, a social media effort to spread the word about CHMC’s mission. The idea, Day said, is to get young people (or whoever wants to participate) to take selfies with messages of hope, peace and anti-violence for their communities in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. read

November 2014

  • Delaware Center for Justice Elects Ashley Biden, Daughter of Vice-President, as Executive Director

    Ashley Biden was voted executive director of the Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ), effective Nov. 13. The announcement comes after the departure of Joanna Champney, who served DCJ for three years. Biden, the daughter of Vice President Joe Biden, served under Champney for two years as associate executive director. "Ashley has demonstrated sound and strategic leadership of the direct service programs at DCJ, and she will continue to lead DCJ with commitment and integrity," Champney said in a release. read

  • Do barristers and mediation mix?

    Are barristers a useful tool in mediation, or does too much time have to be spent calming their egos before the mediation can get going?  This question was touched on briefly at a mediation debate I attended a few weeks ago, and it sparked a bit of a storm at the time on Twitter.  I tweeted a comment by Frances McCarthy, a hugely respected and experienced personal injury lawyer and mediator, that the problem with some mediations is actually the barristers. McCarthy said that while the parties go to a mediation with the mindset that they want to settle the case, sometimes the barrister’s attitude is that they are there for a fight; and valuable time has to be spent calming their egos before the process can really get started. She felt that some mediations would go better if the barristers weren’t actually there at all. read

  • Arbitrate or Mediate But Don't Litigate Entertainment Disputes

    Gone are the days when media moguls and professional athletes would voluntarily hang around the courthouse to litigate contract disputes. Today the entertainment and sports industry increasingly use arbitration and mediation to resolve conflicts. Former Chief Justice Warren E. Burger said to the American Bar Association, "Our litigation system is too costly, too painful, too destructive, too inefficient for a civilized people." There is no question arbitration, and especially mediation, help salvage relationships in the entertainment and sports industry that litigation would otherwise ossify. Although arbitration and mediation can take many different forms, in general, the arbitrator renders a decision at the end of an arbitration hearing, and that decision is final and binding. Mediation, on the other hand, is a process wherein the parties meet with a mutually selected impartial person who assists them in the negotiation of their differences. read

  • Fairbanks school district, family to enter mediation in sex abuse lawsuit

    Attorneys for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District hope to come to a resolution soon in a civil lawsuit with the family of a student who allegedly was raped by a tutor at Hutchison High School. Both sides in the lawsuit plan to meet for mediation in Seattle on Dec. 1 to come to a consensus on the cost of a settlement. The school district approached the family about the possibility of entering into mediation during the summer, according to Michael Kramer, the attorney representing the family. Kramer said the two sides scheduled a full-day session for the mediation, during which he said he believes both sides will participate in a good-faith effort to resolve the claim. The case will likely have to be resolved in court if the two sides cannot come to an agreement in mediation.  read

  • Canadian Disputants Await Clarification of Mediation Privilege’s Boundaries

    Today, Canadians are mediating their disputes in record numbers. One partial explanation for this phenomenon is that mediation purports to keep discussions between parties confidential, traditionally backstopped by settlement privilege. But the extent to which parties can pierce this bubble of confidentiality and use information disclosed in the course of mediation in subsequent court proceedings is an evolving issue. read

  • How To Select The Best Mediator Is a Must Read for Everyone

    Generally speaking, mediation is unregulated, which means that anyone may call themselves a "mediator" and any process involving a "mediator" is called "mediation." On October 22, 2014, I read a wonderful eBook by Brandon S. Peters titled "How to Select the Best Mediator." In his book, Mr. Peters makes the following statement, which I agree with completely: "Your success at mediation is directly tied to your choice of mediator.... The three most important elements of selecting the right mediator for your case: (1) Approach; (2) Style; and (3) Background.... Different cases require different approaches to mediation...." read

  • Family Strife Over Elder Care Consider An Elder Mediator

    One or both parents requiring care can create serious stresses and conflicts within families. Sometimes disagreements and misunderstandings over elder care or inheritance issues can lead families to break apart, affecting descendants for generations. To avoid this, elder mediation is available to resolve family disputes that otherwise may go unaddressed or lead to costly and traumatic litigation. A successful resolution can preserve family ties to the benefit of the entire family tree. read

  • Top Missouri court overturns St. Louis County foreclosure mediation law

    The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned a St. Louis County ordinance enacted during the housing crisis to help stave off foreclosures.  Adopted by the County Council in 2012, the “Mortgage Foreclosure Intervention Code” required creditors to post fees totaling $450, of which $100 was nonrefundable, to cover the cost of a “mediation coordinator.” Lenders that failed to comply with the code faced potential fines of up to $1,000. The council enacted the ordinance to keep homeowners from abandoning foreclosed properties which might then fall into disrepair. Passage of the bill came at a time when declining property values were taking a toll on county revenue from property taxes. The Missouri Bankers Association and the Jonesburg State Bank challenged the ordinance saying state law guiding real estate lending superseded the intent of the action taken by the County Council. Judge George W. Draper III, writing the majority opinion in the case, agreed with the bankers. Counties and municipalities, the justice concluded, lack the authority to enact broad legislation to address a broad “national crisis.” State law, Draper wrote “limits” the authority of local government to “participate in a mediation program prior to foreclosure … or face criminal prosecution.” read

  • Mediation, dispute resolution programs are community assets

    Last month in San Antonio volunteers and lawyers honored the service of Marlene LaBenz-Hough, retiring executive director of the Bexar County Dispute Resolution Center (BCDRC). Under Marlene’s guidance, the center has led efforts in combating violence in San Antonio public schools by working in partnership with the San Antonio Bar Foundation (SABF). The BCDRC was awarded a Criminal Justice Department grant to develop and implement the “Amigos in Mediation” (AIM) Peer Mediation Program. Now in its 15th year, the AIM program helps schools establish their own peer mediation programs by teaching school faculty and students ways to resolve conflicts without violence. read

  • Amesbury Middle School teens honored as mediators

    Two thirteen-year old students received a standing ovation from the assembled guests at the recent 20th Anniversary Celebration of the North Shore Community Mediation Center. Hanna Scotch and Michael Woo, two 13-year-old students at the Amesbury Middle School were recipients of the Derek Sheckman Fair Play Award for Youth Mediation. Having successfully completed the peer mediation program in their school, both young teens affirmed that the mediation training has taught them to be good communicators — and especially good listeners —which are among the mediation skills they hope to use even beyond the school day. read

  • State ready to expand ag mediation to cover federal land, oil and gas

    Proposed changes in state rules would significantly expand the roles of South Dakota’s mediation program for agriculture borrowers and creditors. The program would be allowed to cover disputes involving federal land and oil and gas properties. The Legislature’s rules review committee will consider the proposal Wednesday. Legislators adopted changes in state law in the 2013 session on votes of 70-0 in the House of Representatives and 33-0 in the Senate. The state Department of Agriculture is bringing the rules to implement the changes 20 months later. The expansion resulted from a legislative study committee’s work on oil and gas issues in 2012. read

  • In Rare Feat of Legal Mediation, NJ Company's Settlement Over Faulty Implants Tops $1 Billion

    Medical device manufacturer Howmedica Osteonics Corp. of Mahwah, New Jersey, has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to thousands of patients who received faulty hip implants.
    Local participants say the settlement is notable not only for its high value but also for its unconventional process, which focused on speed and mediation rather than litigation. read

  • Quabbin Mediation veterans program becomes national model

    While working late one night, Quabbin Mediation Executive Director Sharon Tracy got a call from a distraught veteran who had just come home from a tour of duty in Iraq: The mother of his child had handed their baby over to him and walked out. “So he called to find out about mediation,” she said. After Tracy described what it could provide, “he said he would think about it but never called back. I started thinking that, if I’d had a mediator who was a veteran, it might have made a difference.” Tracy decided Quabbin Mediation should provide mediation training to military veterans and their families, “so there isn’t that cultural gap” between soldiers and civilian mediators, who haven’t experienced what veterans may face after their years of service. read

  • Mediator says South Sudan rivals agree to end war

    South Sudan's warring parties committed to stop fighting and bring their months-long conflict to an end without conditions, the chief mediator for regional African group IGAD said on Saturday after two days of talks in the Ethiopian capital. Fighting erupted last December in South Sudan, which declared independence from Sudan in 2011, after months of political tension between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. Seyoum Mesfin told reporters the IGAD bloc had agreed to freeze assets and impose travel bans, among other measures, on any party that violated the agreement. "The parties commit to an unconditional, complete and immediate end to all hostilities, and to bring the war to an end,"   read

  • Federal mediator: Tentative deal reached in Atlanta Symphony labor dispute

    Allison Beck, acting director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, began mediating the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra labor dispute on Oct. 7. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which restarted stalled contract negotiations between Atlanta Symphony Orchestra management and musicians a month ago, released a statement late Friday afternoon announcing a tentative accord between the two sides. “The parties have been faced with complex issues and some very tough choices, which they were dedicated to resolving,” FMCS acting director Allison Beck said. “This tentative agreement will help ensure the continuing viability of one of the premier cultural institutions of the South.” read

  • Indiana high court suggests mediation in IBM case

    The Indiana Supreme Court has asked attorneys for the state and IBM Corp. to consider mediation to settle their dispute over IBM's failed attempt to privatize Indiana's welfare services. Chief Justice Loretta Rush said in Thursday's order that the court "encourages the parties to consider engaging in mediation to seek a mutually agreeable resolution of their dispute." Her order directs the two sides to inform the court within 30 days if they've agreed to mediation. If that mediation effort fails, the court — which heard arguments in the case on Oct. 30 — will move ahead to reach a decision in the dispute. read

  • Early Mediation Offered for Women's World Cup Players

    Players protesting the plan to play the 2015 Women’s World Cup on artificial turf were denied a fast-tracked hearing in Canada over the dispute. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario instead offered early mediation between the players and the Canadian Soccer Association. But the CSA announced late Friday it would not take part in mediation. The tribunal’s ruling and subsequent rejection by the CSA came the same day a group of U.S. senators wrote soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, urging it to reconsider the decision to play on artificial turf. FIFA and the CSA are overseeing the World Cup, which will be played in six Canadian cities next June and July. The players, including Abby Wambach, claim that holding the World Cup on artificial turf amounts to gender discrimination because men play soccer’s premier tournament on real grass. read

  • Qatari Mediation: Between Ambition and Achievement

    From 2006 to 2011, Qatar was highly active as a conflict mediator within the greater Middle East, seeking political consensus in Lebanon as well as securing a key peace agreement regarding the Darfur conflict. What were the drivers of Qatari mediation during this time, and how successful were Qatari negotiators in their efforts? How has Qatar’s foreign policy during the Arab Spring affected its ability to act as a mediator? How might Qatar expand its mediation capacity in the future? read

  • Singapore International Mediation Institute Launched to Set World-Class Mediation Standards

    A new institute has been established to set world-class mediation standards in Singapore and the region. The Singapore International Mediation Institute (SIMI), which is housed at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law, was officially launched today by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education. The launch event was attended by about 100 local and international lawyers, regulators and academics. read

  • Getting divorced: a user’s guide

    So you’re getting divorced. Quite how you feel about that prospect will, of course, depend on the circumstances. Are you divorcing your spouse or being divorced by them? No one likes to feel like a victim of circumstances we cannot control – that is one of the worst sources of stress that life can throw at us. But relationships are a delicate balance. If your partner decides it’s all over, there is in reality very little you can do. You might – might – be able to persuade them to give it another go, but the cat is out of the bag and the genie is out of the bottle. That delicate balance has taken quite a knock. You cannot unsay the word ‘divorce’. read

  • City of Anniston, RMC board to continue mediation through phone, email

    City of Anniston officials plan to mediate with the Regional Medical Center board through phone and email to settle their recent legal disputes in lieu of meeting together like last week. Bruce Downey, city attorney, said city representatives will likely not reconvene with board representatives in a meeting to negotiate unless it's considered absolutely necessary. The decision comes after both parties spent around 12 hours with a neutral mediator in Birmingham Oct. 28 in an attempt to settle their legal disagreements outside of court. Both parties will likely continue to negotiate through the mediator, but by phone and email. "If it's necessary, we'll reconvene," Downey said. "But I think we could continue remotely ... we'd just call and email (the negotiator) and vice versa." read


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