Humor and Negotiations in ADR

John Barkai has published a cartoon book with over 50 cartoons and 500 original captions on the topics of negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. The materials come from a cartoon captioning contest he ran for over 14 years for the ABA’s Dispute Resolution Magazine. If you want a laugh, you can download a free copy at or purchase a hard copy on Amazon for less than $5 (sold at cost). He also welcomes you  to use the cartoons for your classes, trainings, and practice. At the link below you can download a PowerPoint slide pack with one slide for each cartoon.

Full cartoon book-no spaces between words

60 ADR slide pack – 50 plus cartoons – one per page


John Barkai

Humor in Negotiations & ADR: Cartoon Contest Caption Winners

from the ABA Dispute Resolution Magazine

by John Barkai. Less than $5 exclusively on Amazon

Link to the Amazon page –

This book contains over 500 “winning” captions for more than 50 cartoons used in cartoon captioning contests that were created and published from 1997 to 2011 in the American Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Magazine, a quarterly publication of the ABA’s Section on Dispute Resolution. I ran and was the editor of the cartoon captioning contest that appeared in that ABA magazine in a section called  “The Lighter Side.” This cartoon book is self-published and sold at cost (I am taking no profit) mainly to get the cartoons and captions into the hands of ADR teachers and trainers and to entertain anyone interested in a humorous look at dispute resolution. Many of the captions use specific ADR terms and jargon which you will never find attached to any other cartoons.

Words and phrases included in the captions in this book are:

negotiation, arbitration, mediation, caucus, ADR, Med-Arb, litigation, Getting To Yes, Separate the People from the Problem, positions, interests, BATNA, WATNA, CATNA, ODR, Getting Past No, Go to the Balcony, Myers Briggs Type Indicator-MBTI, New York Convention, UMA, (Uniform Mediation Act), , ABA ADR Section Conference, active listening, ADR class, ADR training, agreement, apologize, appeal, arbitrators – odd number of, Barkai chorus, BDR (Bottle DR), big picture, binding agreement, blow off steam, bone of contention, bottom line, Boulwarism, Bozo the clown, brainstorm, bury differences, choice of mediator, clown, collaborative, co-mediator, common goal/common ground, common interests, communication, compromise, concede, confidentiality, counteroffer, creative problem-solving, cross cultural, negotiating with the Japanese, default judgment, demands, discovery tools, distributional, divorce mediation, divorce, dual influences, emotion, ethical prohibition, evaluative, expand the pie, Exxon settlement, facilitative mediation, fees, feet to fire, final judgment, fishing expedition, full disclosure, gambits, gap, good faith, good-cop bad-cop tactic, ground rules, half-full, higher authority, hi-low agreement, Ho’oponopono, humor, icebreaker, immunity, impartial, impasse, informal, interest-based-negotiation, international arbitration, issue, Jan Ken Po, joint session, lawyer, pit bull, leverage, list of arbitrators, litigation risk, litigator/trial counsel , low-balling, make a good living, mandatory mediation, master's degree in conflict resolution, mediation – court ordered, mediation advocacy, mediation practice, mediation court ordered, mediator credentials, mediator selection, lawyer as mediator, meeting facilitation, meeting halfway, middle ground, mirroring, needs, negotiation class, neutral ground, neutrality, nonverbal communication, objective criteria, offer (final, first, first move, last), opening statement, over for dinner, panel of mediator, Pareto principle/Pareto frontier, perspective, Pepulator, point of view, positional bargaining, prevent conflict, problem solving, professional courtesy, professors, proposal, rapport, red herring, renegotiate, repeat player, revisit, ripe, risk, Riskin Grid, rock-paper-scissors, see you in court,  settlement, shuttle diplomacy, Solomon, split down the middle, split the baby, split the difference, stew things over, strategy, students, super optimal solution, systems perspective, tactics, tactics-bluffing, taught ADR, tenure, think outside the box, threat, time pressure, Tit-For-Tat, transformational mediation, transformative mediation, trust, tunnel vision, Vanishing trial, walk the talk, win-win, and zero sum.


John Barkai

Professor Barkai joined the faculty in 1978. Prior to coming to Hawai`i, he was a criminal trial lawyer in Detroit and a tenured faculty member at Wayne State University Law School. Professor Barkai also served previously as Associate Dean at the law school. He currently directs the clinical program and… MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


Traits of a ‘Mediator’

Mediation is a science and an art. Although many mediation skills may be taught, the development of a skilled mediator requires experience in dealing with people in all conditions and...

By Sam Imperati, J.D.

The Funnel of Conflict Resolution – Stages of Conflict and Opportunities for Resolution

The Stages of a Conflict The world of conflict can act like a funnel, in that disputes can enter from any of a variety of areas of life and can...

By Lee Jay Berman

Mediator – Know Thyself! (Part II)

Distance Family Mediation by Susanna Jani In last week’s post, Kari Boyle, Executive Director of Mediate BC Society, raised the topic of mediator competence and the need for self-awareness to...

By Susanna Jani

Find a Mediator