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<xTITLE>Conflict in Our Own Backyard: Should Someone Accept Clooney & Hanks Offer to Mediate the Writers Strike</xTITLE>

Conflict in Our Own Backyard: Should Someone Accept Clooney & Hanks Offer to Mediate the Writers Strike

by Victoria Pynchon

From Settle It Now Negotiation Blog

Victoria Pynchon

Finally an excuse to post a photo of the world's sexiest man on my blog!

The excuse?

Professor Carrie Menkel-Meadow's Concurring Opinion Post Can Actors Do Everything? letting us know that George Clooney and Tom Hanks have offered to mediate the writers strike as follows:

George Clooney, Tom Hanks and other actors have offered to step in and "mediate" the writer's strike. They say they will just tell the two sides "you have to live with this (particular terms) and get over it." Some bloggers suggest only "starpower" will make the producers bargain in good faith.

I hope these well intended actors know what they are doing when they offer to mediate. It sounds like they don’t. Mediators don’t tell the parties what to do (”you need to live with that and get over it”). They facilitate negotiations between the parties so they can (together) come to an agreement and “live with it.”

For the remainder of Professor Menkel-Meadow's post, click here.

Of course anyone can mediate.  Each one of us do it on a daily basis in some form.  Parents do it between children; children do it with their peers; employees do it on behalf of their employers or colleagues; and, I'm certain, actors and directors do it with an incredible array of difficult personalities both on and off-set every day.

Co-Mediation:  An Idea Whose Time Has Come

I have a friend and colleague, fellow Judicate West panelist and AAA arbitrator Jay McCauley who co-mediates medical malpractice and other health care litigation with a physician mediator, Marc Lebed through their organization Medical Dispute Professionals.

They are harnessing the power of a subject-matter-specialist/mediator team to help doctors and patients resolve their disputes.

A similar process could well be the answer to the writers' strike.  Substantial research has found that the most powerful persuasive force is the opinion of an individual who genuinely "feels your pain" or is inside your "decision cycle" (h/t to Colin Powell).   

If Clooney and Hanks teamed up with a great mediator, it wouldn't surprise me if their addition to the mediation team might well make the difference between continued impasse and agreement.

It couldn't possibly hurt, could it? 


Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all types of business torts and contract disputes.  During her two years of full-time neutral practice, she has co-mediated both mandatory and voluntary settlement conferences with Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Alexander Williams, III and Victoria Chaney.  As a result of her work with Judge Chaney in the Complex Court at Central Civil West, Ms. Pynchon has gained significant experience mediating construction defect litigation.  Ms. Pynchon received her J.D., Order of the Coif, from the U.C. Davis School of Law. 

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