Now that I've been a mediator for a while it's too easy to forget those early days when I was discovering mediation as an advocate in the courtroom one day, and feeling my way in a mediation the next.
It sure was hard to make the switch.
My head was always playing catch up, so I was still in rights mode at the start of the mediation and desparately looking for interests in the litigation when I struggled to my feet at the bar table at 10am the next morning.
So, in another sign that our mediation industry continues to mature, UK lawyers who represent parties at mediation now have their very own organisation dedicated to building a greater awareness of the differences between advocacy at mediation and advocacy at court.
And as a added benefit, this will be welcome news for all those mediators who listen, day in and day out, to advocates trying to persuade them of the legal merits of a case.
The Standing Conference of Mediation Advocates is a 'multi disciplinary cross-professional membership trade organisation established to promote and deliver best practice and professional excellence in mediation advocacy through individual and corporate training and commercial activities'.
The Forum for Mediation Advocacy is 'aimed at lawyers, accountants, property and HR professionals, trade union representatives and other advocates who represent clients in mediation'
The Standing Conference of Mediation Advocates will launch in a week or so at 6pm 26th February 2008, Blake Lapthorn Tarlo Lyons Solicitors, Seacourt Tower, West Way, Oxford. OX2 0FB [more detail]
Hat tip to Human Law Mediation