Steve Mehta

Steve Mehta
Steven G. Mehta is an attorney and mediator providing unique mediation services in a variety of types of civil litigation. His ability to understand the human process and complex emotional issues involved in legal negotiations enables him to effectively assist the parties in obtaining the best possible results during mediation. In addition, his ability to connect with the parties and attorneys in mediation allows him to be a trusted aide in the mediation process. He is well known and respected by both sides as being a fair and neutral mediator who works hard at trying to obtain a resolution.


Contact Steve Mehta

Website: www.stevemehta.com

Articles and Video:

Face to Face and Social Media (07/11/11)
I was at a convention recently presenting on how to interact with difficult people. At that seminar I met a friend of mine from Facebook, Kia Feyzjou. It reminded me of a thought I saw in a post.

Writing as a Tool To Heal and Gain Control In Mediation (07/05/11)
In many mediations, I am often confronted with the question of client control. Does the other lawyer have “client control,” I am often asked.

Don’t Judge a Mediation By its Cover (06/19/11)
Even if the parties say that the case will never settle, don’t believe it. It may yet surprise you.

Edison: It Isn’t Useless, It Didn’t Go as Planned (06/13/11)
Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.

Edison: Opportunity is Disguised as Work (06/05/11)
Steve Mehta describes how full-time mediators become successful.

Edison: It was all Fun (05/30/11)
Don’t worry about the money. If you love what you do, the money will come.

Obstacles to Creativity in Mediation (05/23/11)

Change, Like Rome, Wasn't Built in a Day (05/16/11)
How do you negotiate the Israel-Palestine problem? What about North Korea? Well a recent book by Stuart Diamond, Professor at the Wharton School and Author of ’Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in The Real World’ highlights methods of how to negotiate in real life situations, including that problem and more.

Mediation is Like Peeling an Orange in One Peel (05/02/11)
Recently, I had a mediation where it became patently obvious that the case had been set for mediation too early and the parties did not fully understand the other side’s position.

Don’t Just Do the Job, Love The Job (04/11/11)
There are many mediators that just simply go about the task that has been assigned to them as if they are simply doing a job. They are good at what they do and get adequate results.

Medicare Gets Reimbursed Even With Wrongful Death Claim if Plaintiff Claimed Medical Bills In Suit (04/03/11)
A very interesting decision regarding medicare reimbursement rights came down that will affect how people can litigate their cases and how they must determine medicare reimbursement rights. It addressed the big issue of whether medicare is entitled to reimbursement when plaintiff makes a claim for wrongful death.

Independence: Seeing the Forest Through the Trees (03/27/11)
One of the advantages of having a mediator is the fact that the mediator is neutral and not so closely connected to the case. A recent study has confirmed this concept by showing that people who solve problems for others are more creative than those who are thinking of solutions for themselves.

Cognitive Distortions - Part 3 (03/21/11)
Most people are hardwired to understand a concept of fairness. Even as children, we comment that something is or isn’t fair. There is an obvious feeling of resentment when we percieve something as unfair.

Zoltan The Lawyer: The Amazing Predictor of the Future (03/07/11)
Prognosticators, Prognostications, and Predictions. Isn’t that what lawyers and mediators do all the time? A lawyer predicts the likelihood of an outcome just like stock fund managers predict the likelihood of the stocks going up or down.

Mediation Matters (02/28/11)
How does a person’s self esteem affect his or her ability to make judgments about others? Well a new study shows that a person is more likely to be biased against another person who is different if they have lower self esteem.

1000 Out Of A 1000 People Love This Concept (02/21/11)
Which one convinces you more? If I told you that 90% of the time people lose their medical malpractice actions or that 9 out of 10 people lose their medical malpractice actions.

Faking Remorse, Can You? (02/14/11)
In mediation, there are frequent occasions where a party may feel genuine remorse and apologize for his or her actions. However, in the cynical world of litigation, everyone doubts when the other side acts remorseful. How can you tell when a person genuinely feels remorse? Canadian researchers think they have the answer.

Cutting Your Losses (02/14/11)
The key to making a smart decision at mediation is to know when to let go and when to push forward – when to settle and when to continue the litigation. This decision, as simple as it sounds, is actually very complex.

You Dare To Bring Me This News, Messenger. This Is Sparta!!!!!!!!!!!! (02/07/11)
In some sense, mediators are simply messengers in a war of the parties. They send and interpret a message from one side to the other. And we all know sometimes what can happen to the messenger. Well I thought I might briefly look at the origin of the phrase, “Don’t shoot [or kill] the messenger.”

I Need You To Do This! (01/31/11)
The other day, I mediated a case and the plaintiff told me as follows: ”Tell them that I need the money to provide care to my husband.” The other side viewed the case as a nuisance case and one that was not meritorious. In response to the question, I thought to myself that the plaintiff demanding that I tell the other side would not help settle the case. I thought that the defendant would simply say, “so what. I need the money too.”

Wonder Schmooze Power: Activate (01/31/11)
Most mediators I know prefer when the parties attend the mediation in person. In fact, I even write that attendance by phone is a poor substitute and should not be recommended. The reason, I believe and know, is that there is substantial power to having someone attend in person. There is a greater connectivety, greater ease of communication, and greater ability to develop rapport. Recently, I found some research that shed light on the power of facetime.

Supreme Court Of California Reinforces Mediation Privilege (01/24/11)
The long awaited Cassel decision has now come down this last week. The gist of the decision is that the mediation privilege trumps the right of a client to sue a lawyer for malpractice for events that occurred in mediation or in anticipation of mediation. Here is the complete decision.

Francis Ford Coppola On Mediation And Negotiation (01/17/11)
I recently saw an interview with Francis Ford Coppola that talked about collaboration, his career, choices, and other topics. I thought the interview was fascinating and had some appeal to mediation. Here are some excerpts. The interview is in italics.

Objectively Speaking, Neutrality Is Difficult (01/17/11)
Many times a month, I will be in a mediation and an attorney will tell me that “it must be so much less stressful to be a mediator than be in the practice of law.” Often, I respond by saying that being a neutral can be harder than being an advocate. Well recent research has affirmed this belief. This research shows that a neutral disposition can have a substantial toll on the body.

Surprises Make People Happier (01/03/11)
I'm currently now on vacation. However, what I thought I might do for my blogs during my vacation is to provide posts that are relevant to the experiences I have during vacation and that are also relevant to mediation.

I Am A Jelly Donut (01/03/11)
One of the most famous speeches in the 20th century demonstrates the importance of the way that something is said as opposed to the words of what is said. In mediation, negotiations, and all types of communication this statement is true. It is not what you say, but how you say it. President John F. Kennedy is a perfect example of this statement in his famous speech in Berlin.

Malpractice Mediation Beneficial, Even If Physicians Don’t Attend (12/20/10)
Having litigated many medical malpractice cases and as a mediator of those same cases, I have come across many arguments regarding the efficacy of mediation in the medical malpractice context. Many argue that unless all discovery has been completed, mediation is ineffective. Others say that mediation is effective from the very beginning. Yet others offer blame for failed mediations from a partisan perspective. Regardless of the view of mediation in malpractice cases, it is clear that mediation has become a preferred tool for resolving these type of disputes. Recently, A study of mediation in medical malpractice cases found that mediation is beneficial according to the participants but that a key missing ingredient, however, is the doctors themselves.

That’s Some Sweet Jazz Mr. Mediator (12/13/10)
Recently, I have had the privilege of discussing the topic of mediation and improv (both in acting and any other form of improvisation) with my esteemed colleague Jeff Krivis. Indeed, he has written a book called Improvisational Negotiation (which is an excellent book to read with wonderful stories about litigated mediations). Our discussions peaked my interest in this field and I have continued to research this issue on my own. That is why I was so excited to see an article on What Jazz Soloists Know About Creative Collaboration. The article, written by Scott McDowell, who works with creative teams and business leaders, discusses how to develop the skill of improvisation and how it can relate to business creativity and as a team member. Here is a brief excerpt of the article.

A Spoon Full Of Sugar Makes The Anger Go Down…. (12/13/10)
Mary Poppins used to say that a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. She was right. Sugar can help all types of medicine go down, including the medicine for a bad temper. According to new research, a spoonful of sugar may be enough to cool a temper for a short time.

Conflict, Tension, Relief (12/06/10)
Jason Dykstra, a fellow blogger and mediator, at Absolution Mediation has a poll on his blog asking whether conflict is good or bad. According to his poll, 72% thought that conflict was bad. I disagree. Conflict is great. Here’s why.

Anyone For Coffee And Donuts (11/29/10)
In every mediation, one of the first questions that arises is not what is the bottom line or what do we need to do to settle the case. Instead, one of the first questions asked by attorneys in mediation is “where is the coffee?” Well recent research has shown that caffeine and sugar in combination can improve the efficiency of brain activity.

The World Has Lost A Great Mediator In The Passing Of Ted Kheel (11/22/10)
I had noticed in the New York Times that a prominent labor and international mediator, Ted Kheel just passed away at age 96. I also want to thank my fellow mediator Mike Young for pointing out the obituary in the L.A. Times, which also addressed some of Mr. Kheel’s viewpoints. I thought it would be appropriate to discuss a few of his thoughts, as identified in the recent articles.

Ten Magic Words That Can Sell Your Case (11/15/10)
Would you like to know of some magic words that will help people who hear your message to trust you? Well if that is something that interests you, then you need to read further, because I will show you that there are certain words that can help people who receive your message to increase trust in the message. You can trust me to show you these words.

New Scientific Research Discounts The Discounting Of Scientific Research (11/08/10)
So much of what we do in mediation is an attempt to convince people to change their mind regarding something that they have been set on for a long time. Sometimes, we use research or studies to support our attempt to help change the behavior or decision. We may cite to other experiences or statistical analysis. However, recent research has revealed that there may be problems with this approach. According to Geoffrey Munro at Towson University in America, when people are faced with scientific research that clashes with their personal view, they make every effort to discount that information.

Court Mediation Solving More Civil Cases, Social Conflict (11/01/10)
When China chooses to do anything, it usually does it in wholesale fashion and on a large scale. When it comes to manufacturing, China is the it country, when it comes to making technological and cultural advances, China is the country; when it comes to creating an amazing olympics, China is the country. And, now when it comes to mediation, China is soon becoming a superpower in dispute resolution.

Facebook Posts, Losing Your Job, Your Privacy, And Your Dignity (11/01/10)
Recently I gave a lecture about social media and suggested that people need to watch what they say because it is being used in legal proceedings. In fact, we discussed the issue in the seminar whether it is the standard of care to investigate social media in a case. I also wrote a post about useless comments on Facebook. So I decided to show some useless posts that have many legal uses and implications. In other words, posts that are really embarassing that shouldn’t have been put up in the first place. I thought I would put the post and then some advice along with it.

Mediation In The News (10/25/10)
I was recently conducting a search on google for mediation and litigation and found an interesting historical summary of how mediation has taken off in the recent years.

Attorneys In Mediation: Angel Or Devil Or Both? (10/25/10)
Recently I saw an article that addressed the issue of what effect attorneys have on the mediation process. Interestingly, the article discussed the claim that many mediators view attorneys as having a negative impact on the medition. I do not necessarily share that view and believe that it might only apply to consumer mediations as opposed to litigated mediations.

8 Listening Habits Of The Highly Unsuccessful People (10/11/10)
One of the fundamental things that a good negotiator and mediator can do during a mediation is to listen well. When listening, you will often find many great cues to unraveling the reasons for why the other side has a stated position. –Unfortunately, many litigators make numerous mistakes in failing to listen during a mediation and solely focusing on talking.

Can’t Buy Me Love In Mediation? (10/11/10)
ne of the things that I hear often in mediation is the concept that the case is about money. Although the answer to the issue does depend on what perspective, new research helps to address how to possibly try to be satisfied with the results in mediation. One study found that people who are directed to think about time plan to spend more of their time with the people in their lives while people who think about money fill their schedules with work.

Mediator Use Of The iPad (09/30/10)
For several months, I have been using the IPad during my mediations and I thought I would report the results of how it is going. I must say that the IPad has and will continue to revolutionize the way that we as mediators work.

It’s All About The Handshake (06/21/10)
As most mothers are oft to say — there is nothing like a good first impression. Well one of the first things in a good impression is a good handshake. How do you do one and what do some people percieve about you based on your handshake? Well I was thinking about these issues recently when a client I met for the first time mentioned that I had a good handshake during a mediation and that he knew we would have good results.

100 Milliseconds Is All It Takes (06/21/10)
There is a common feeling amongst trial lawyers that the first moments of a trial are often the most important. Indeed, there is research that shows that the jury has made its mind up in voir dire. Well new research suggests that people make decisions very quickly and often those decisions are not on the merits; but instead on other superficial factors.

Self Control, Radishes, And Change (06/07/10)
Why is it that at the end of the day, it is easier for you to snap at your spouse than the beginning? Why do telemarketers advertise late at night, when you are tired? Why is it hard to get out of the rut and change your routine? The answer is that you only have so much self control.

Mediators Drafting Settlement Documents (05/31/10)
There is considerable debate amongst the mediation community as to whether a mediator can draft documents for the parties. Some mediators say that doing so leads to them practicing law, whereas others say that they aren’t practicing law by merely being a scrivener. The Wisconsin Bar recently published an ethics opinion on this very issue. I thought that it might be interesting to review. It provides a nice summary of many of the States’ opinions on this issue. The following is an excerpt of that opinion:

Are You Angry Or Is It Just A Tactic? (05/24/10)
Many weeks during mediation, it appears that not a day will go by without having some overt demonstration of anger being shown by one of the participants during the mediation. The question, however, is whether the anger has an effect on the negotiations. Anecdotally, it cannot not have an effect. The only issue is whether it can help to increase or decrease your negotiating position.

Wash Your Hands Clean Of The Matter OR Decision (05/17/10)
It always fascinates me how the small things can make subtle differences in the way we make decisions. I always think about these issues and how negotiators will make decisions. One metaphor I recently thought about was the one of washing hands — I am washing my hands of it — That metaphor suggests that once you have washed your hands you will no longer worry about the matter. Recently I came upon a study that shows a very interesting connection between washing hands and decision making.

Millennials, The New Decision Makers (05/10/10)
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a District Attorney (DA)who was about my age, about his shock at a new DA who wanted to lead the entire homocide unit within 3 years, and he expected to get a homocide case straight out of law school. (This was a shock to my friend because you have to at least been with the DA’s office at least 6 years before you are assigned a homocide, and have to first do misdeameanors to cut your teeth.) This discussion got me thinking about the Millennial generation — the Generation after GenX. This generation has started to grow and get into the work force, and I have been increasingly thinking about how to interact with such generation. In communicating with each person, you must take them individually, but you can also learn lessons on how to adapt to that person’s style if you wish to have better communications. As negotiators, you have to be able to understand the audience so that you can present better to them.

Are You Threatened By This Deal? (05/03/10)
How people view the negotiation can seriously affect the results that you achieve. My wife and I have very different views about negotiation. I thrive on it; she on the other hand views it as a necessary process. I love the swap meet and the art of negotiating at garage sales, she prefers to not attend the garage sale at all and simply go to the mall. That, however, might be her preference on shopping and not on negotiation. A new study, however, verifies that the way people percieve negotiation will affect the outcome.

How To Not Choke In The Mediation On Game Day (04/26/10)
I have started to read some material written by Jonah Lehrer, a contributing editor at Wired and author of Proust Was A Neuroscientist and the book How We Decide. He has found some interesting research on different ways that we make decisions and how we come to such decisions.

Embryo Custody Mediation (04/19/10)
What will a mother in Missouri, a parent in California, and a mediator in San Francisco do with the case of embryonic mediation? A news story out of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on the story of a couple in California that contractually gave embryos to a midwestern couple for adoption/donation. Here is the story:

New Case On Mediation Confidentiality (04/19/10)
There has been a new case in California regarding mediation confidentiality. The gist of the case is to create an exception to confidentiality for communications between an attorney and her client — especially for purposes of malpractice claims.

Mindfulness In Mediation Matters A Must (04/12/10)
For some time now, I have tried to practice the concept of being mindful or meditation before starting a mediation. I started thinking about meditation and mediation about two years ago as a result of hearing how some people viewed it as the reason for their success.

Let A Global Audience Decide Your Dispute (04/12/10)
The legal and ADR might just have a new tool to use in their conflict resolution toolbox. I recently wrote an article about this in the Daily Journal. I thought you might like to see the content of the article.

What To Charge? The How And Why (03/29/10)
Think hard about the price you charge. Many people simply believe, “I will charge the lowest price and business will just flow in.” Unfortunately, that belief does not work. One reason is because of the reason determined in a study I cited in a prior post.

May I Now Introduce John And Jane Doe And Other Sexist References We Still Make (03/29/10)
Since March is National Women’s History Month, I thought it would be interesting to add a small contribution to the information regarding gender differences. Vickie Pynchon has been dedicating this month in her blog to writing about gender bias that continues to exist in the profession. Her theme has been to show that bias can be demonstrated in many ways in which we may not think about. Well another example of that potential bias is in the way we identify names. Think of the traditional introduction in a wedding. I now introduce you to Mr. and Mrs. John Doe. Well a recent study shows that putting male names before female names in writing is a remnant of sexist thinking. This is the finding of a study published in the British Journal of Social Psychology by Dr Peter Hegarty and colleagues of the University of Surrey.

Pay It Forward (03/22/10)
Recently, I went to a Starbucks and was pleasantly surprised by what happened to me. I immediately realized the power of the act as it happened. However, what I didn’t know is how fast that act would then spread in the Starbucks.

Advice On How To Give Advice (03/22/10)
Mediators and attorneys are in the business of giving advice. Advice as to what options work; advice as to how to negotiate; advice as to when to settle; and many more things. But what advice is considered valuable by the receiver and why? Well it is fascinating to see some of the research in this field to determine who and what is the best way to provide advice.

Eye See You: The Non-Verbals Of Eyes (03/15/10)
I recently gave a seminar where we were discussing the importance of non-verbal skills. In that study, we talked about the famous Mehrabian study that found that only 6% of communication was the words. One major aspect of non-verbal communication is in the eyes.

Pawn Stars Negotiating Tips (03/08/10)
In my book, 112 ways to Succeed In Any Negotiation, I discuss that negotiations happen every day in every aspect of life. I just saw a video on You Tube from the History channel show Pawn Stars where they provide some basic advice on negotiating.

You Look Great And Other Compliments Effect On Negotiators (03/08/10)
Dale Carnegie once said “Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself.” This statement is probably very telling about human nature in several ways. One way it reflects on people’s wishes and desires is that people like to hear good things about themselves. Think back towards compliments that have been given to you. How did you feel? Now what about with criticisms? No matter the compliment, people appreciate the compliment being given.

The Brain Is Hardwired For Fairness And Equality In Unusual Ways (03/01/10)
Over this year, I have had countless times when I have heard my son say, “It’s not fair” about something that happened on the playground at school. Usually, I have to talk about how even if it is not fair, there are certain constraints that he may have to face. He usually begrudgingly goes up to his room to ponder why – when Roger took cuts in the handball line – that he has to live with the unfairness. Come to find out that my son’s sense of fairness and equality in treatment is hardwired in his and everyone’s brain. According to new research, the human brain physically wants things to be fair and equal. Amazingly, scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, have become the first to have photographs (MRI) to prove it.

Will Tiger’s Apology Be Enough? (02/22/10)
With Tiger Wood’s apology out today, the question that everyone is asking (in light of other sex scandals) is: “Is this apology genuine?” There are many opinions on this issue, but I think another question that is missing is “will the victim accept that apology?”

Mediation Follow Up: What, Why and How (02/22/10)
Last night I gave a seminar called 112 Ways to Succeed in Your Mediation Practice. The program was a huge success. The program discussed what can be done to create a better practice of mediation. As part of the program, I gave 112 different tips on what to do both during mediation and in marketing the mediation practice. By request, I am going to start to address some of these points in my blog. I will endeavor to periodically provide a tip that was identified in the seminar and discuss the issues relating to the tip.

“We Do” Are The Magic Words In Conflict Amongst Couples (02/15/10)
In honor of Valentine’s day, I thought we might look at conflict resolution between people in love. New research has found that despite the fact that people often dislike when other couples use the royal “we” to describe themselves, those couples are actually using tools to help resolve conflict.

Mel Gibson, Who’s Really The A$$h*le? (02/08/10)
Many times in mediation, the question or issue arises as to whether a party is making an apology because it genuinely feels remorse or whether the party is simply saying it to gain some form of economic advantage. As you will see, those same apologies, when done wrong can backfire terribly.

Immigration, Sociology, And The Quest For Justice (02/08/10)
Recently there has been a lot of controversy over illegal and legal immigration. Although come to think of it, the controversy is not new, nor is it unique to the United States. Most countries have significant controversy over immigration. In addition, there are very heated feelings about immigration; and then there are equally heated feelings about the people that oppose such immigration. All in all immigration is an enduring topic that affects all aspects of our lives. Many times in mediation the issue of immigration status comes up and its effect on the outcome of the case.

This One Time In Band Camp, I Learned To Empathize (02/01/10)
In the movie American Pie, there is a character named Alison who always said the phrase, “one time in band camp….” Everytime she said the phrase, she would have this whimsical lilt to her voice. Initially, the main characters ignored her (partially because of her “annoying” voice), but eventually in the series it turned out she was a very empathetic person who helped the main characters in their endeavors. Well it turns out that Alison’s linguistic inflection have been found to scientifically make her more empathetic.

You Can Have Your Mediation And Your Chocolate Cake Too (02/01/10)
I saw a fascinating post about negotiations and chocolate cake in a recent post by Andrea Schneider on the ADR Prof Blog. I also want to thank Professor Schneider for bringing this issue to everyone’s attention. The post addresses an article in the Wall Street Journal that studies the role of emotional responses after information overload. And the truth is — it doesn’t take much to cause rational overload that then creates an emotional response. Here is a brief excerpt from the Wall Street Journal Article by Jonah Lehrer

The Mediator’s Proposal Roundtable: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (01/25/10)
Recently the topic of the mediator’s proposal came up in a topic of conversation. Several people had different views on how the proposal should be made, if at all. I decided that this might be a nice topic for a Mediation Roundtable. The format of the roundtable is that I have given each mediator 5 questions. Each mediator’s answer will be in its original form, unedited, and together. This will provide you with several different views on one topic in one place. As such, I am presenting to you the topic of Mediator’s Proposal Roundtable: The Good, Bad and Ugly.

Vanna, Can I See If There A Sincere Apology For $500? (01/18/10)
Every week or so you see a public figure make an apology about some indiscretion. I sometimes feel that we have a wheel of fortune style game show called Say Sorry or Lose a Fortune. Many people wonder, though, how valid are the apologies. Do they really mean it?

How Do I Set My Rate: The Age Old Question Answered (01/18/10)
Due to the terrible economy that has affected every industry, lawyers and mediators are now forced to go on their own or to develop their own business. One question that everyone asks is how much do I bill? Well now instead of floundering in the dark and aiming darts at balloons identifying billing hours, there is a nice program that helps to address what you need to make and how much you need to work to break even and make a profit.

Mediation In History (12/14/09)
I thought I would start this week by creating a new feature reflecting the history of mediation. This feature will discuss mediation as the term has been used in history, and how mediation has worked, not worked or been used in historical terms. This feature will try to use documents or news from the past to reflect on the history of mediation.

The Words You Choose Can Decrease Your Stress (12/14/09)
How people verbally fight and address conflict can have a direct consequence on their stress levels. New research shows that the way you argue has a direct connection to the amount of stress you create from that argument.

Tiger Woods’ Mediation Of His Prenuptial Agreement Post Affair (12/07/09)
I saw an article by sports writer Kevin Hench about a hypothetical mediation with Tiger Woods and his wife about their prenuptial negotiations, with Wedding Crashers as the backdrop. I thought it was interesting, and thought you might enjoy.

Mandatory And Voluntary Mediation: A Comparison Of Effectiveness And Perspective (12/07/09)
There is often a discussion of the differences in mandatory or voluntary mediation. Some people believe that mandatory mediation is not as effective as voluntary. Whereas, others believe that the process is as effective, but that the parties come to the two different mediations with different perspectives. I recently read a book that shed some new light on this topic.

Carrie Prejean And Mediation Confidentiality (11/16/09)
The saga of Carrie Prejean, the Miss California contestant for the Miss USA pageant who came out against gay marriage, had a picture of her breasts “accidentally” exposed during a photo shoot, and who sued the Pageant, which then countersued to get back their money for her breast implants, and who then settled the case when a sex tape was discovered of her, is still in the news. But this time, she took on Larry “Inappropriate” King for the ultimate fight about mediation confidentiality.

9 Year Old Mediator Could Teach Us All Something (11/16/09)
I came across an interesting article about a 9 year old child and her mediation skills. The latter part of it has a political discussion which you can choose to read or ignore based on your political views. But the story about the child is fascinating. We could all learn from her. Here is a brief excerpt of that story.

Conflict Resolution Strategies For Everyday Use (11/09/09)
As a mediator, it is my job to be right in the middle of conflict. Indeed, often as a mediator, we have to listen to things that the other side may not be willing to listen and then communicate that message to the other side in a way that does not turn off the other side yet communicates the message. It makes me think that conflict is a normal part of life. We all have conflict, and many people are afraid of conflict. Rather than thinking that conflict is a bad thing, perhaps we can consider using it as a good thing: An opportunity to communicate and clarify in a relationship. As such, I have put together some suggestions when a conflict starts. Hopefully, you will find them interesting.

Mediating Employment Disputes (11/09/09)
Many employers are now agreeing to use mediation as a form of resolving disputes with employees. In fact, over the last 10 years, mediation has become the most popular form of alternative dispute resolution used both inside and outside of the court systems.

Contingency Fee: The Dark Lord Of Mediation Fees Or The Fee That Shall Not Be Named (11/02/09)
Yesterday, I was in a meeting and discussing mediation services when I was shocked by what I heard. An attorney told me that a prominent mediator (He who shall not be named) in California charged a contingency fee for a mediation.

Presenting Conflicting Information...Or Maybe Not (10/26/09)
A recent study provides some serious evidence that Americans prefer to read articles that agree with the opinions they already hold.

Time To Make Peace: Factors in When Peace Makes Sense (10/19/09)
A new study published in Economic Inquiry addresses the question: “If we can make a deal, why fight?” The authors conclude that a combination of each side recognizing the probable outcome and both sides considering the use of time similarily allow a potential loser of a conflict to use small concessions to successfully appease an expected winner. Given those conditions, small negotiated concessions can work, but in situations where clear and specific inequities exist, small concessions to avoid a fight won’t work.

Can You ever Commit Malpractice In Mediation? (10/19/09)
The question of whether someone can commit malpractice during mediation is recently gaining quite a bit of traction. The answer to that question lies in the philisophial riddle “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Apology Infuences Jury Verdicts, New Study Finds (10/12/09)
A big question in trial for lawyers to consider is whether to apologize for their client’s “alleged” conduct. Many lawyers are reluctant to do so under the theory that it could lead to a greater chance of liability being imposed on them. Recent research sheds light on this issue.

Intercultural Negotiation is as easy as 1-2-3, or is it? (10/12/09)
It’s as easy as 1-2-3 you say. Well that may not be so easy if you are dealing with intercultural communications. I recently read some research on that highlighted the importance of intercultural communications. Negotiations are often fraught with problems anyway. Adding the additional element of intercultural differences can make it extremely difficult to deal with.

What Do Tiger Woods, Tom Hanks And Top Mediators Have In Common? The Market Conditions And More… (10/12/09)
One of the biggest questions for all people considering the profession of mediation is, “Can I make money being a mediator?” Many people look at mediation and say that it would be wonderful to become a mediator. This is especially true for litigators looking at the siren song of not having to get into discovery disputes, fighting with opposing counsel, and constantly being in fight or flight mode.

Sorry Shouldn’t Be The Hardest Thing To Say: It Is Financially Better To Do So (10/05/09)
Many times Sorry is often the hardest word to say. But in reality saying sorry shoud not only be the first thing to say, but can often be the most cost efficient thing to say when you have committed a wrong.

Stress Affects Logical Decision Making: Study Finds (10/05/09)
In mediations, clients are faced with important decisions throughout the day — what move to make, what response to have, and what to have as the bottom line? Many times, you will see a person who can normally make good decisions but is paralyzed in the mediation. Why? Well recent research demonstrates what we may have already believed: that cognitive stress can substantially affect a logical approach to decision making.

Negotiating For Hot Dogs And Other Life’s Lessons (10/05/09)
I recently came across a wonderful story of negotiations in Esquire that I thought I would share with you. It has a lot of great negotiating tips — what to do and what not to do — presented in a charming style. I hope you like it.

Wedding Crashers’ Mediation And Negotiation Lessons (09/28/09)
For many years now, my good friends Gig Kyriacou and Myer Sankary and I have presented a seminar at various conventions regarding mediation techniques identified through the movies. One movie that never ceases to entertain the audience and provide meaningful tips for negotiators is the movie “Wedding Crashers.”

Buyers Remorse In Settlement And Mediations: Seven Ways To Avoid It (09/28/09)
Recently, I read a blog post regarding attorneys coercing their clients to settle a case. On Victoria Pynchon’s blog, Settle It Now. This made me think about the issue of buyers remorse that can happen in mediation and how to avoid the issue.

New Study (09/21/09)
Many people have wondered about how juries react to the pain of other people that they are judging. Well new research has discovered some interesting conclusions regarding how people empathize with others. A study reported in the July 1 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience reports that an observer feels more empathy for someone in pain when that person is in the same social group.

The True Motivations of Plaintiffs in Bringing Medical Injury Lawsuits (09/14/09)
Recently, I’ve been investigating the issues of the different parties perceptions in litigation and mediation. Oftentimes, you will hear phrases such as “this isn’t a lottery,” or “it’s really about the compensation to the family.” On many occasions, the attorneys for both sides will express that they believe the case is about money at the end of the day. However, during many mediations, I have felt that from the plaintiff/claimant’s perspective, it is often more about other things than the money.

Men And Women Are Cut From The Same Cloth In Communications — Research Finds Similarity In Communication Patterns (09/07/09)
It is no secret that men and women communicate differently. Hundreds of books have been written on the difference between the genders in communicating. New research, however, shows that men and women may be similar in aspects of communicating.

Can Crying Actually Make Two People Closer? New Research Says So (08/31/09)
There are many reasons why people cry, but bonding is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Usually people think of crying from sadness, pain, or stress. But now a Tel Aviv University evolutionary biologist finds empirical evidence showing that tears can make interpersonal relationships stronger.

Monkeys Mirroring And Mediation — Imitation Promotes Social Bonding (08/24/09)
The old saying about imitation is a form of flattery may hold more truth than one might think. Based upon recent research, it also may be an ancient interpersonal mechanism that promotes social bonding and for creating friendship and trust.

Bad Faith Mediation Tactics Or Not? (08/17/09)
It is fascinating that when I experience a particular event at a mediation, every so often I happen to come across information on the web that is directly relevant to the event that happened that day. Today for example, I mediated a case where one party accused the other of acting in bad faith and coming to the mediation in bad faith.

Charlize Theron Fails In Negotiation — Hancock Part 2 (08/17/09)
Previously, I had discussed the movie Hancock and some negotiating points from it. Here is another point raised in the movie.

Will Smith Teaches Negotiations Lessons (08/10/09)
I just recently watched the movie Hancock with my son who has been asking me to watch movies with him. Well since I like movies and Will Smith, I couldn’t think of anything better to do than to watch Hancock with him. Now after several years of doing seminars that provide negotiation lessons from the movies, I am always watching for life’s lessorns from the movies. After watching the movie, though, several thoughts came to mind about how Hancock teaches us lessons that we can all take into life and negotiations.

Elderly At Increased Risk of Death From All Causes Because of Abuse and/Or Self Neglect (08/10/09)
For those of you that are involved in elder issues, like myself, I thought this information might be interesting. Elderly who are subjected to abuse or self-neglect are at an increased risk of premature death, according to a recent study.

Mistakes Made By Mediators — Part Three (07/27/09)
I have promised several people to try to come up with a list of mistakes that mediators make. Rather than create one long list of mistakes I thought it might be better to have a few mistakes at a time so that each mistake can be digested and considered fully. My view is that I learn more from my mistakes than from my successes.

Mistakes Made By Mediators –Part One (07/20/09)
I have promised several people to try to come up with a list of mistakes that mediators make. Rather than create one long list of mistakes I thought it might be better to have a few mistakes at a time so that each mistake can be digested and considered fully. My view is that I learn more from my mistakes than from my successes.

Mistakes Made By Mediators — Part Two (07/20/09)
Last time we discussed Fear of failure and failing to Persist.

Apologizing For Not Doing A Favor — The Effect Of Apology On Compliance And Persuasion (07/13/09)
There has been substantial research on the issue of favors and likelihood of increasing compliance. In addition, there is also a lot of research on the effect of an apology after a transgression. But there has been very little research on what effect, if any, an apology has on increasing compliance when there is no transgression.

What’s The Forecast For Your Practice — Planning For The Future Practice (07/13/09)
Every year I am surprised by June Gloom. I wake up in the morning and say to myself, “who knew that the weather would be like this?” Well the weather forecasters knew. They are able to predict weather for days, weeks, months and even years. The same day that I was thinking about the weather, my staff was discussing the forecast of the upcoming month of July for the number of cases and how they felt better knowing the forecast. I realized that legal and mediation professionals could use a weather forecaster also. In fact, I realized that I have been weather forecasting for a while now.

Green Mediation — A Mediator’s Attempts To Conserve Resources (07/06/09)
Since March 17, 2009 (St. Patrick’s Day), my mediation office has gone green. After several months of working on conservation, I have several observations about being Green.

Taking Escalates More Than Giving De-Escalates — How That Affects Mediation And Negotiation (06/29/09)
Feeling slighted, miffed, or offended can influence how a person responds much more than being the recipient of perceived generosity, even if the net value of the social transaction is the same, the research on reciprocity—giving and taking—shows.

Rose Colored Glasses In Mediation Might Be Helpful — Research On Ability To Take In Information And Moods (06/22/09)
A new study suggests that our mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience. In other words, seeing the world through rose-colored glasses is not just a metaphor. It also reiterates that people in bad moods will have tunnel vision.

Pass The Vinegar, Honey! The Effect Of Anger On Others During Negotiations (06/15/09)
You often hear that you get more with honey than you do with vinegar. However, a study has tested that proverb with surprising results.

International Elder Abuse Awareness Day — Learning About Elder Abuse And Mediation (06/15/09)
Citizens throughout the world are wearing something purple Monday in support of World Elder Awareness Day. This day is designed to acknowledge the global issue of elder abuse and to combat that problem.

Negotiating Games — Using Anger In Mediation, A Researched Analysis (06/08/09)
In mediation, it is often common for parties to use a anger or emotions strategically. In fact, many people will intentionally have an emotional outburst in an attempt to try to strategically alter the other side’s position. Some may say that using such emotions is a long time strategy going back towards ancient days. But can exaggerating emotions backfire?

Show Me The Document — Easy Online Collaboration Tool For All Mediations (06/08/09)
One of the problems of long-distance mediations is the difficulty in being able to communicate with each other. Sometimes, you would like to share documents or work on the same document together and are unable to do so because of the fact that you are not in the same place. Well, there’s a new program that makes it very easy for you to be able to share documents, collaborate on documents together, or simply use a whiteboard together to work out concepts. All for free! That program is Show document.

Grief Needs To Be Addressed First In Mediation Before Case Can Be Settled (06/01/09)
Grief plays an important and vital role in the mediation and negotiation process. In fact it may be safe to say that most mediations involve different aspects of the grieving process at different times.

Entrapment Is All About Choices And Framing In Mediation (06/01/09)
Mediator Jeff has a great blog post on entrapment in mediation. It addresses how people feel that they are trapped into one course of action and can’t get out; whether that course of action is continuing with litigation or continuing in a relationship.

Mozart As A Mediator — Using Music To Influence Emotional Reactions In Mediation (05/25/09)
Song writer, E. Y. Harburg once said, “Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.” Well scientific research has helped to make that quote true. Most of us feel moved when we listen to a good song. In fact, studies have shown that in the dispute context, music can help to make parties more reasonable. But can music change the way we feel about others?

Negotiations Today Could Haunt You Tomorrow — Study Finds Long Term Implications (05/25/09)
Many times in mediation I have seen negotiations go awry because of prior relationships that the parties or attorneys may have had. These mediations anecdotally demonstrate that how you negotiate today can significantly affect your relationship in the future.

Mediating Madness — Proven Stress Reduction Strategies From a Mediator (05/19/09)
Recently, after a very stressful mediation, one of the attorneys came up to me and told me that he didn’t know how I was able to handle all that stress on a daily basis.

Three Essential Traits Of A Highly Successful Mediator (05/18/09)
In my opinion, there are three things that all mediators must be able to do, regardless of the type of mediation, in order to be successful at mediation. Those three things are the ability to develop trust and rapport with the parties, the ability to arrive at creative solutions and persistence.

Skype Calling — Mediation in the 21st. Century (05/11/09)
As a mediator, and as a prior communications major in college, I recognize and accept the fact that complex mediations often require an interpersonal touch that can only be achieved in person. However, that is not always possible.

It’s Not Just Fair, It’s Favorable To You — Being Fair Can Assist You In Negotiations (05/11/09)
On many playgrounds, you will often hear the phrase “that’s not fair.”  Those three words also have a huge impact in dispute resolution.  That is because the principle of fairness is often overlooked.

Mediation: Recession Proof Or Not – A Discussion Of Mediation And How The Recession Affects It (05/04/09)
The current economic climate that we are all facing is the worst recession since the Great Depression. Unfortunately, just like all other businesses in America, the business of mediation appears to be affected by recession also.

Congressman Tries To Create National Mandatory Court-Ordered Mediation For Foreclosure Cases (04/27/09)
With the housing crisis showing no immediate sign of relief, Congressman Alan Grayson from Orlando, Florida is trying to promote a national court-ordered mediation program that would require both sides in a home foreclosure process to mediate their dispute.

Barking Dogs Need Mediators – Mediation Helps In Neighbor Disputes (04/27/09)
A city in Arizona is reintroducing a mediation program to help people resolve neighbor to neighbor disputes. In particular, the city of Scottsdale, Arizona is primarily introducing this program to assist neighbors resolve their barking dog problems.