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On-The-Spot Mediation

From Clare Fowler’s Fairly Legal Blog

You’ve gone too far, Kate! In the first episode Kate prevents a robbery in a convenience store. In the second episode Kate prevents a fight between a taxi driver and a bicyclist.

Here’s my question of the day: Is a mediator always a mediator? Does every situation need to be mediated? Is it helpful? Or is it presumptuous?

I believe a mediator can carry her skills around with her and be helpful in a variety of situations. But I do believe there is a point where people should be able to figure things out themselves if they don’t ask for help. I negotiate disagreements between my kids all the time–it is a role that life handed me. But you know, when I try to step in and help negotiate an argument that my friend is having with her boss, she just feels disrespected. It is frustrating when I know that I could be helpful and provide valuable conflict resolution advice to people all around me, but they are just not ready to hear it.

In this week’s episode Kate was thrust into a situation where her driver was almost in an accident. She was already involved and so she had a right to speak up. I think everyone involved was glad that she did.

But then she crossed the line. You cannot take something that people are not willing to give you. You cannot take someone’s free will. You cannot take their right to choose to compromise. You cannot take their moment to grieve or sulk or pout or dream of a split-second revenge. People need those moments sometimes to help them forgive the other person involved and move on.

But most importantly, in the second episode, Kate went too far. She took something so valuable, so precious, that I am not sure how the cab driver and the bicyclist did not file a suit against her. I will boldly say that if Kate ever took this from me she would be decertified as a mediator. In order to prevent future accidents and disagreements, Kate (dare I even say it?) . . . took . . . their . . . morning COFFEE!

By Clare Fowler, who is, thankfully, fully caffeinated.


Clare Fowler

Clare Fowler is Executive Vice-President and Managing Editor at, as well as a mediator and trainer. Clare received her Master's of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, focused on reducing workplace conflicts, from Pepperdine… MORE >

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