The New Year is a great time to push “refresh” on all subjects. I spent the last week going through my (now adult) children’s closets and getting rid of the things that we will no longer return to: huge computer systems with no screens or monitors, outdated televisions which can’t play cable, the expensive, must-have tennis shoes that every boy needed in High School a decade ago. I also took the last week or two to purge old paper work (as my son says–no modern businesses even use “file cabinets” these days).
And so I am ready to begin the year “fresh” and in doing so, to look at my mediation cases differently as well. I have listened to the discussion on “self-determination” and bringing back the joint session and intend to at least offer the opportunity for my clients to engage in an informed discussion about the design of the mediation process itself, not merely the outcome. I also hope that when my lawyer/readers return to their offices in this New Year, they too can take a step back to see which cases cry out for litigation and which demand mediation: a chance to engage a fresh set of eyes and ears to offer a third perspective which may be different from the adversarial and dyadic view held by only two sides of a conflict.
In what ways does this New Year bring you fresh perspectives on conflict?