Professor James Coben, a senior fellow in Hamline's Dispute Resolution Institute ("DRI") which he directed from 2000-2009, teaches civil procedure, dispute resolution practices, mediation, and negotiation. He also pioneered a variety of innovative ADR clinical opportunities for law students, including mediation advocacy on behalf of clients in family law and employment cases. More recently, he has focused his energies on development of international ADR educational opportunities.
Professor Coben created the Mediation Case Law Project - a systematic attempt to catalogue litigation trends about mediation, as well as produce and distribute innovative teaching videos, and other resources to ADR academics, practitioners, and trainers.
Contact James Coben
Initial Attraction to Mediation
James Coben describes his initial attraction to mediation which he saw as a much more rational and effective system of solving problems rather than attempting to solve them through the court.
Interview with Jim Coben - Views from the Eye of the Storm
This is the complete interview by Robert Benjamin with Jim Coben, long-time former director of the Hamline University Conflict Resolution Program, filmed as part of Mediate.com's 'Views from the Eye of the Storm' Video Series.
Mediation Case Law Video: Does Involvement of a Mediator Help Ensure Class Action Settlement?
In Kakani v. Oracle Corp., the appellate court rejected the assertion that the involvement of a mediator helps to prove lack of collusion.
Mediation Case Law Video: Enforcing Oral Mediation Settlement Agreement
In the case Ledbetter v Ledbetter, the appellate court considered the issue of whether parties to a divorce mediation should be bound to a settlement orally dictated by the mediator and affirmed by parties and their counsel at mediation, which was later repudiated by one of the parties.
Mediation Case Law Video: A Simple Mediator Mistake Leads to Big Problems
In the case Catamount Slate Products v Sheldon, the appellate court reversed the trial court and refused to enforce an alleged oral mediated settlement where the intent of the parties to be bound was not established.
Mediation Case Law Video: Wrongful Death
In Estate of Barber v. Guilford County Sheriff's Department,, the appellate court ruled that a plaintiff's obligation not to defame a wrongful death action defendant is not unenforceable as a prior restraint on speech, where record showed the mediated agreement was based on a knowing, voluntarily and intelligent waiver of constitutionally protected rights.
Mediation Case Law Video: Those All-Day Mediations -- Maybe We Should Reassess?
In the case In re Rains, the appellate court concluded that the bankruptcy court did not clearly err in finding a debtor mentally competent to enter into a mediated settlement, notwithstanding that immediately following the conclusion of mediation the debtor drove himself to the hospital where he was admitted and diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm and stroke.
Mediation Case Law Video: Divorce Agreement Complications
In Guthrie v. Guthrie, the validity of a divorce agreement was called into question due to one party's state of mind at the signing. A complicating issue was husband's death during the proceedings.
Mediation Case Law Video: Enforceable Mediation Agreement
In Chesney v. Hypertension Diagnostics, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's conclusion that a mediated memorandum agreement is binding and enforceable despite the parties' failure to complete a more comprehensive settlement document.
Mediation Case Law Video: Enforcing Old Agreements
In Buckley v. Shealy, the appellate court decided to not to enforce a mediated divorce settlement, when the agreement is over a decade old and was never submitted to the court.
Mediation Case Law Video: When Parties Settle Their Own Case
In Lee v. Lee, the appellate court considered what happens if an agreement is reached outside of the mediation room. Is it enforceable?
Mediation Case Law Video: Including Arbitration Provision
In Fair v. Bakhtiari, , the appellate course reversed the trial court's refusal to enforce a mediated settlement and compel arbitration pursuant to its terms because inclusion of the arbitration provision in the settlement was "consistent solely with an intention on the part of the parties for the settlement terms document to be enforceable or binding," thereby making the settlement admissible based on a statutory exception to inadmissibility where an "agreement provides that it is enforceable or binding or words to that effect."
Mediation Case Law Video: Mediation Confidentiality
In State v. Williams, the appellate court considered a difficult question of mediator confidentiality. Is a mediation a fully confidential space or can the information shared in mediation be later submitted in court?
Mediation Case Law Video: Authority to Settle
In Fivecoat v. Publix Super Markets, Inc., the appellate court reversed the trial court's order enforcing mediated workers' compensation settlement, where the claimant's attorney did not have clear and unequivocal authority to settle on claimant's behalf.
Mediation Case Law Video: Handwritten Agreement
In Heaven & Earth, Inc. v. Wyman Properties Limited Partnership, the appellate court enforced a handwritten mediated settlement of lease extension by night club against challenge that parties' failure to reach full agreement on limitations and notice requirements for sound checks was a missing essential element that precluded enforcement.
James Coben: Mediation Skills That Lawyers Should be Taught - Video
James Coben shares types of mediation skills that can be taught to lawyers interested in alternative dispute resolution: listening, conflict theory, and empathy.
James Coben: A Mediator's Complete Disclosure of Process - Video
James Coben talks about disclosing 'trickster' activity in a mediation session.
Mediate.com Inside: Mediation Case Law Revue, James Coben
Mediation Case Law Revue with James Coben, Hamline University School of Law
Dispute Resolution Institute
Thanks to: Minnesota State Bar CLE
James Coben: ADR Training Essential in Law Schools - Video
James Coben discusses teaching law students skills of how to be an advisor to their client which involves alternative dispute resolution training.
James Coben: Risks of Training Collaborative Lawyers - Video
James Coben describes two sets of risks in training collaborative lawyers - coerciveness and becoming too collaborative, which may end up harming the client by being too costly.
James Coben: Different Forms of Advocacy - Video
James Coben discusses different forms of advocacy a lawyer can have with a client. He explains that zealous advocacy might mean litigation and it might mean helping the client making the best decision through a collaborative process.
James Coben: Goals in Teaching Law - Video
James Coben describes his objectives in teaching law. He would like his law students to see themselves as problem solvers.
James Coben: Early Mentor Experience - Video
James Coben describes his early experiences dialoguing with his mentor, which he sees as a basic component to mediation.
James Coben: Mediation Skills Should be Taught to Lawyers - Video
James Coben sees the practices of mediation and law as complementary. He believes the skills applied in mediation should be taught to lawyers, so they can be better advisors.
James Coben: Lack of Transparency in Mandated Mediation - Video
James Coben talks about concerns he has within the field that include systems designs that force people into mediation and a lack of transparency from the mediator to the parties.
James Coben: Importance of Teaching Transparency - Video
James Coben discusses how training programs and systems should teach mediators how to be transparent and honest about their process with clients.
James Coben: Mediation is not Confidential - Video
James Coben gives an example of a lack of transparency and honesty when a mediator tells parties that the mediation is totally confidential.