After years of experimentation with the use of alternative dispute mechanisms in a variety of contexts, a new era began in 1988 when Florida and Texas became the first states to adopt legislation that authorized trial judges to order civil cases to mediation. Over the past 25 years, court-connected mediation has grown exponentially.
Are female negotiators penalized for asserting too much? Our experiences and past research seem to indicate yes. However, for women to be perceived as competent they must be able to act agentically (in a self-focused manner), despite the fact that studies show that agentic women are routinely penalized and seen as socially unlikable. As a result, women are less likely to engage in assertive negotiation behavior because they fear negative judgments.
Recently the United States Supreme Court issued long anticipated rulings in the first marriage cases to reach the high court – United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry. Taken together, the decisions represent a significant step in the central civil rights issue of this era – the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples to marry.
The budget cuts to the court system have perhaps been felt more severely in California. In March, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye lamented in a speech to the state legislature, “our judicial branch budget has been cut greater and deeper than any other court in the United States.”
Sheryl Sandberg is the current COO of Facebook. Her book is intended as a practical guide to the continuing challenge of overcoming the still elusive and unrealized goal of gender equality. She has all the necessary credentials to be a valuable spokesperson and to garner the outsized media attention the topic deserves. However, despite offering useful suggestions about how women can affirmatively assert themselves to be taken more seriously and obtain the positions of leadership they deserve, she fails to give any significant attention to the negotiation process and skills essential to realistically 'lean in' and achieve those objectives.
Here we go; round and round. That’s the sound of the all-too-familiar family whirlpool in which one person (usually the woman) asks that a chore get done and the other person (usually a man) seems agreeable but never quite gets it done. She starts tip-toeing around the subject, he avoids it, she gets louder, he acts like she’s a nag, and now they’re on spin cycle with no forward progress in sight.
“A professor was showing his class a chart of the species, at the top of which was man. A student raised her hand, asking why man was at the top. ‘Tortoises are heartier,’ she said, ‘cheetahs more swift, and grizzlies more ferocious. So why are we at the top?’
Not everyone distrusts or has reason to distrust his or her spouse in a divorce. Not everyone needs an advocate to actively and adversarially negotiate, but instead can use the attorney in his or her corner for advice, for information and for document reviews. Not everyone needs to pay for a two-attorney collaborative process. How can a divorce attorney best serve this market? The answer may be the process of "Informative Mediation," described in this two-part article.
Preparing for a presentation on negotiation and gender for 250 tax attorneys and their clients later this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which men’s stereotypic gender roles make them worse negotiators than women.
The ADR profession, of course, does not exist in a bubble. The most highly-paid and well-recognized mediators continue to be predominantly male, middle-aged, and white. Women are catching up, especially in areas viewed as “soft,” such as family law (which can be as demanding and brutal as any other).
A while back, I posted a link to a support group which focuses on helping women through the difficult transition of divorce or separation (although they also work with men). This is my belated follow up link for a support group which focuses on helping men through this same difficult transition (although he also works with women).
On September 25, 2012, a trial level federal court in Northern California denied Wal-Mart’s motion to dismiss a statewide class action suit whose nationwide sibling was defeated by a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling last year.
In my seminars on interpersonal negotiation skills, communication, conflict management and mediation skills, we often speak about cultural and gender differences. Do Hispanics really make less eye contact than non-Hispanics? Do men or women expect or require more eye contact as a general rule? Do men touch women more than women touch men in casual conversation? Proxemics (personal space), haptics (touch), and kinesics (body and face) are names given for studies in these topics that attempt to answer such questions.
This article discusses sexual harassment in the workplace. It gives an example of how NOT to handle allegations of harassment, as well as suggestions for responding to allegations.
Yes, Virginia, women as well as men can act the role of the sexually bullying boss. We tend to be surprised about this only because of our benevolent biases about women – in this case – that they are too inhibited or “nice” to use sex as a tool for workplace bullying.
Women Don't Ask: This podcast discusses why women are less likely to ask for a raise. It also discusses other benefits and skills that women under-utilize, or are uncomfortable using.
Now that the Paycheck Fairness Act has been blocked by the GOP, sending federal funding for women’s negotiation training to the dust bin, bargaining experts are out in force advising women on best negotiation practices.
(6/04/12)Jeffrey J. Beaton, Cassi Vick
This article examines the influence of gender dynamics in the mediation process. It further explains the ways in which gender differences are perceived by mediators and participants. It concludes with several suggestions on how to overcome these barriers to an unbiased mediation.
It’s not at all surprising that most women’s initiatives at most AmLaw200 law firms have been dismal failures. They failed because they lack buy-in; are often unfunded; and, no one takes them seriously.
When we’re not being judged by our actions, our speech, our tone of voice or our discussion of families and babies in business setting, we are able to put those perceived (and in many cases, actual) condemnations aside and get down to business.
In the past fifty years, the revolution in American family law led to a revolution in family law dispute resolution. Virtually every aspect of divorce law has been transformed since the Mad Men era, including grounds for divorce, characterization of marital property, child custody presumptions, and alimony and child support rules. Marriage is not assumed to be a lifelong commitment. Fault generally is not legally relevant. Gender equality is a fundamental principle.
Prenup articles typically talk about how resolving and clarifying money issues prior to marriage is a good thing. However, they do not take into account the very important component of most good marriages: the sharing of money and resources. So prenups aren't necessarily the best thing since sliced bread -- they can pose many problems for the future spouses.
The council submitted the brief on Jan. 9, urging the Supreme Court to grant a mandamus to force a family law judge to approve a mediated settlement agreement (MSA) in a custody dispute. The judge in that suit, 309th District Judge Sheri Dean of Houston, refused to approve the MSA between Stephanie Lee and Benjamin Jay Redus, on the ground it was not in the best interest of a child. The council argues in the amicus that the judiciary should not create common-law exceptions to the enforceability of MSAs.
Nineteen percent of all marriages in 2008 were a second go-round for at least one party. If there were problems that led to a divorce in the first marriage, how sure are you that you won’t repeat them again in the second?
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The "Me" impacts many areas of the mediation process. We can leave the “Me” out of mediation and replace it with an armor of understanding, empathy, open mindedness, and non-judgmental practices.