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April 2015

  • LL.M. Programs in Alternative Dispute Resolution

    Specialized programs can help lawyers with tactics like mediation and negotiation, which are increasingly used as alternatives to litigation. “When I went to law school, it was still considered fuzzy-headed fringe stuff,” says Paul Ladehoff, the director of the LL.M. program in Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri School of Law. “Now it's a regular component of practice.” read

March 2015

  • CFPB Study: Arbitration Agreements Limit Relief For Consumers

    On March 10, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") released a report which found that arbitration clauses restrict a consumer's relief against financial service providers, such as credit card companies and banks. read

  • Justin Bieber Attends Mediation Hearing On Photog's Suit

    Pop star Justin Bieber is in South Florida to handle his legal troubles – again. Tuesday morning Bieber’s security team swiftly and skillfully whisked him through the service entrance of a attorney’s office in a Brickell high rise so he could attend a mediation hearing on civil suit filed by freelance photographer Jeffrey Binion. read

  • Somali elders learn mediation to integrate community

    Confidentiality. Quality of process. Impartiality. Conflict of interest. Competence.  Those were the words scribbled across the chalkboard in a St. Cloud State University classroom March 21. In three chairs — one in the middle, two facing each other — sit a middle-aged Somali man playing a 20-something college student, a St. Cloud State communications professor playing an elderly neighbor and a Conflict Resolution Center director playing a mediator. read

  • Fox's 'Empire' Copyright Lawsuit Best Moved To Mediation, Says Judge

    With demands for millions on one side and the seeking of a court declaration that Empire isn’t violating any “purported trademarks rights” on the other, this lawsuit seems to have taken the expressive lane to a sit-down before it could blow up. Just one day after the broadcaster of blockbuster series Empire filed a complaint for declaratory relief against music label Empire Distribution, the federal court today said it wants the parties to work out their problems in mediation before going to trial. Maybe not the way Lucious Lyon does business on the fictional Empire but the ways of real-life busy courts.  read

  • Enormous hike in court fees - will we see a rush to mediation?

    Earlier this month, the Ministry of Justice implemented massive increases in the fees the courts charge to those parties who commence proceedings. Claims for more than £10,000 now attract an issue fee of 5% of the value of the claim up to a limit of £10,000, so, for example, a claim for £200,000 will now cost £10,000 to issue in addition to lawyers’ fees. The recent hike in court fees ought to make more businesses pause before instructing their lawyers to issue proceedings. in any event, there is much to be said for embarking on a mediation prior to the commencement of proceedings. read

  • Federal Justice Dept. mediator heading to Pasco

    The U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Service will be in Pasco next week to begin mediation talks between the city's police department and community leaders. Talks will be centered around the recent shooting of Antonio Zambrano-Montes by three Pasco Police officers, and claims the department's use of force was unjustified and it's rank and file are out of touch with the largely Hispanic community. The process, once started, is confidential and has no law enforcement attached to it, according to the Department of Justice. Action plans can come once completed, however. read

  • Medical Malpractice Claims in Wisconsin Fall to Record Low

    Medical malpractice claims hit a record low last year in Wisconsin, according to the Director of State Courts. The number of medical malpractice lawsuits fell to 84 last year from 140 in 2013. There were 294 suits filed in 1999. The state Medical Mediation Panels got 118 complaints last year, the fewest in their history. Plaintiffs must file with the panels before they can sue. read

  • Lawsuit against prominent Paterson imam may go to mediation

    A NJ state judge has ruled that a lawsuit can proceed against leaders of the Islamic Center of Passaic County that alleges widespread misuse of the organization’s funds. Ruling on a motion by the center to toss out the lawsuit, Judge Margaret Mary McVeigh in Passaic County Superior Court on Friday said that she would consider most of the suit’s claims, but urged the parties to go into mediation. read

  • Mediation program alternative to costly EEOC litigation

    Employers were encouraged Monday to take part in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s mediation program, with one lawyer saying the program has been successful in resolving employment discrimination cases and saving employers money and time by avoiding litigation. Speaking at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., Whitney Warner, a founding partner with the labor and employment law firm of Moody & Warne in Albuquerque, N.M., tackled several myths about participating in EEOC mediations. read

  • In the City: Clear up disputes with neighbors in spring

    Spring is time of renewal and rejuvenation. The sun is shining, plants are growing and the temperatures are rising. As you embark on this season of change and renewal, think about taking steps to reduce the impact your actions have on your neighbors and also think about how to communicate when your neighbors' actions impact you. If you aren't comfortable because you feel there is conflict, your neighbor probably feels uncomfortable too. Here are some quick steps to try to begin resolving conflict. read

  • Manhattan Borough President Seeks Rent Mediation For Mom-And-Pop Businesses

    A proposal by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer would give small businesses a year-long reprieve if their landlords try to boot them out. It’s not a new issue, and Brewer said her idea is not a new one. “Rent mediation has been bandied about for many years, decades even, but in a different way,” she said. Under Brewer’s proposal, if a landlord seeks to jack up a store’s rent, a mediator would try to work out a deal. If one cannot be reached, the business would receive a one-year extension so that it has time to find a new space. In the meantime, its rent would increase by no more than 15 percent. read

  • Liberia: Woods Leads Mediation - AFL, West Pointers Smoke Peace Pipe

    Since the shooting incident in the West Point community that led to the death of little Shaki Kamara, the relationship between the Armed Forces of Liberia and the locals has been sour, but the former Minister of Public Works Samuel Kofi Woods is doing everything to bring the army and the people together.  read

  • Mediators working to help Ferguson

    Sometimes you need a person in the middle — a mediator. Community Mediation Services of St. Louis helps people talk about and resolve their differences. On Wednesday, "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh will talk to two people behind the group about their services and their recent work in Ferguson. read

  • Bill O'Reilly Attacks "Restorative Justice" Programs That Reduce Racially Disproportionate School Discipline

    Fox News host Bill O'Reilly attacked efforts to decrease school suspensions and expulsions with programs known as "restorative justice," ignoring that these traditional punishments disproportionately target students of color. read

  • ‘Office for pontifical mediation’ may be set up within Secretariat of State

    The Vatican Secretary of State suggested Wednesday that an ‘office for pontifical mediation’ may be established within the ranks of the Secretariat of State, in order to function as a link between the on-the-ground commitment of papal diplomacy and its commitment within international institutions. Cardinal Pietro Parolin said on March 11 that “facing an increase of armed conflicts — both internal and external — which are caused because of a lack of preventative actions or because of a lack in managing the post-conflict times, an attention to prevention (through the new office) will highlight the real meaning of the Holy See’s presence in the international community”. read

  • Unlocking Horns: Lender Use of Mediation for Dispute Resolution

    Lenders are often the target of litigation by borrowers, guarantors, co-lenders, and bankruptcy trustees. While a growing number of lenders include ADR provisions for arbitration in their loan documents, few are requiring mediation as a precursor to litigation. Many lenders are unfamiliar with mediation and its potential benefits. read

  • How to Win at Mediation

    Hiring a mediator can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees—and even more if a judgment goes against you, as a recent Weekend Investor story explained. Some states require divorcing couples to explore mediation first. Mediation is also an option in some disputes between investors and stockbrokers, an employer and a former employee, business partners parting ways or parties to a commercial contract. The process isn’t meant to be adversarial. “Win-lose as a bargaining model puts most of the benefits of mediation into a black hole,” says Michele Lowrance, a retired judge in Chicago who works as a mediator with JAMS, an alternative dispute-resolution provider based in Irvine, Calif. But there are still ways to protect yourself – and even gain an advantage – when entering mediation. read

  • Iran Offers to Mediate Talks Between Republicans and Obama (Andy Borowitz)

    Stating that “their continuing hostilities are a threat to world peace,” Iran has offered to mediate talks between congressional Republicans and President Obama. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, made the offer one day after Iran received what he called a “worrisome letter” from Republican leaders, which suggested to him that “the relationship between Republicans and Obama has deteriorated dangerously.” “Tensions between these two historic enemies have been high in recent years, but we believe they are now at a boiling point,” Khamenei said. “As a result, Iran feels it must offer itself as a peacemaker.” read

  • State, Schools Continue Mediation for Inflation Funding

    The state and school districts are in legal mediation trying to agree on how much money the state should give schools for inflation back pay and when, said an attorney for the schools. Gov. Doug Ducey and the state Legislature have set aside $74 million in the state budget for the lawsuit settlement, less than a third of what a judge has said the schools are owed. read

  • Better to mediate than to litigate

    A skillful mediator can be the avenue through which parties are able to face each other comfortably. The mediator is an independent third party without any power to decide who is right or wrong. The mediator’s role is to work with the parties in a process that is broadly aimed at understanding the dispute; identifying the concerns, underlying fears and needs of each party; communicating the same to each party upon receiving a mandate to do so; and ultimately assisting the parties to negotiate a settlement themselves. read

  • Divorcing Parents: 4 Ways You Can Be Super Heroes To Your Children

    Divorcing parents: you can be super heroes to your children. Here's the plot twist: becoming their super hero means accepting that your children deserve to experience both a "Super-Mom" and "Super-Dad." Your marriage is ending, but your relationship as co-parents continues. Please consider these four commitments you can make as co-parents that will change the course of your children's lives and in the process, possibly save yours too. read

  • Cheaper, quicker way to settle disputes, save ties

    Singapore: A journey towards cheaper, quicker and less bitterly contested justice reached a "historically significant moment" yesterday when Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon launched the State Courts Centre for Dispute Resolution. The centre will seek to settle disputes across a wide spectrum of matters through mediation and neutral evaluation. It will sit at the entrance level of the State Courts, sending the signal that this approach is the "first stop" to be seriously considered in any type of conflict, said Chief Justice Menon. read

3/05 3/03
  • Federal mediator brought in to help avert MLS stoppage

    Representatives of Major League Soccer and its players union are meeting with a federal mediator this week in a last-ditch effort to complete a new collective bargaining agreement before the 2015 MLS season opens Friday. read

  • ASEAN co-mediation of child custody rows proposed

    Singapore Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon tells his counterparts in member-states of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to consider co-mediation in dealing with cross-border child custody rows. read

  • March is Mediation Month

    VA Governor McAuliffe has named March “Mediation Month” in the Commonwealth, to honor the work done in courts and other resolution centers. read

3/02 February 2015

  • Mediator’s death, Army clashes will not affect swap deal

    The sudden death of a secret middleman helping to secure the release of 25 Lebanese servicemen held hostage by Islamist militants on the Syria border and the Lebanese Army’s offensive against militants nestled in the hills on the country’s northeastern border with Syria will not affect negotiations on a swap deal, a senior security source told The Daily Star Thursday. read

  • India: An alternative to legal woes

    The author talks to the people from the Foundation for Comprehensive Dispute Resolution who strive to make mediation more accessible read

  • Courts aren’t always best place to resolve disputes

    Mediators are embracing new technology, says Graham Boyack. In today's world so much of what we do is increasingly done either on the telephone or online and that’s now beginning to happen with mediation too. In today’s justice system there are a number of good reasons to look at online dispute resolution. I’ll look at those reasons, how mediation online works and what needs to be done for it to happen. read

  • Mediator an acceptable cost for productivity

    That is too much taxpayer money at stake not to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. If $6,000 is what it takes, then stacked against $43.5 million, it seems like an acceptable cost for a better guarantee of productivity. read

  • Editorial: Mediation brings the right result to human rights complaints

    Resolving human rights complaints in this province once took years, and often involved ugly legal battles and plenty of ill feeling. Before the province's Human Rights Code was amended in 2011, it took an average of four years to settle complaints through a slow and often-combative tribunal system. Since then, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission has focused on mediation, resulting in many complaints being resolved in weeks or a few months at most. read

  • 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


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