David A. Hoffman is a mediator, arbitrator, and Collaborative Law attorney at Boston Law Collaborative, LLC. He is past chair of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and co-chair of the Section’s Collaborative Law Committee. He teaches the Mediation course at Harvard Law School, where he is the John H. Watson, Jr. Lecturer on Law. He is the co-editor (with Daniel Bowling) of Bringing Peace into the Room: How the Personal Qualities of the Mediator Impact the Process of Conflict Resolution (Jossey Bass 2003).
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Interview with David Hoffman
This is the complete interview by Robert Benjamin with David Hoffman, founder of The Boston Collaborative and former President of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section, filmed as part of Mediate.com's 'Views from the Eye of the Storm' Video Series.
Background: Family and Religious Influences
David Hoffman describes how his family background contributed to his social values and his tendency to be conflict avoidant.
From David Hoffman
Congratulations on reaching this major milestone!! The Mediate.com weekly provides our community with a wealth of ideas, information, and case reports. It's a vital resource for mediation practitioners, teachers, and trainers.
The Mediator as Moral Witness
People in conflict often present their claims in starkly moral terms: "I'm in the right -- the other party is clearly in the wrong." Mediators are trained to deflect argument involving moral claims from a focus on entrenched positions to a focus on underlying interests. But what if the parties perceive their most profound underlying interest to be validation of their being “right”? What if each party is looking to the mediator to be a witness to the other party’s “moral culpability”?
From David Hoffman
I appreciate the way that Mediate.com has steadfastly maintained a forum for all points of view within the sometimes tumultuous field of mediation. Congratulations on this latest milestone!! And thank you for walking the talk, and providing this important meeting place and resource for mediators, clients, and commentators.
Building Bridges: The Vital Role of Professional Relationships in the Collaborative Law Process
Collaborative Practice provides practitioners with three important solutions to this “Prisoner’s Dilemma” problem as an example of how to build collaborative bridges.
Mediation As A Spiritual Practice
Can mediation be considered a spiritual practice? And what is a spiritual practice anyway? We think the answers to these questions might explain, at least in part, why we and many other mediators find mediation to be so fulfilling – turning an occupation into a labor of love.
David Hoffman: Positive Change Comes From Conflict - Video
David Hoffman talks about conflict being good in that it brings about change. While conflict can be scary, it can also have positive outcomes.
David Hoffman: Concerns, Lack of Professional Diversity, and Public Funding - Video
David Hoffman emphasizes the need for more racial/ethnic diversity in the field in order to have the widest reach, broadening the movement. He also discusses the problem of community mediation programs being underfunded.
David Hoffman: Using Tools in a Toolbox - Video
David Hoffman discusses the metaphor of using mediation techniques as one would tools from a toolbox. The wider range of tools one has and the more skilled one becomes with these tools, a wider range of people can be served and the mediator can be more successful.
Communicating Collaboratively in Cyberspace: What Couples Counselors Can Teach Dispute Resolvers About Email
Mediators and Collaborative Practice (“CP”) professionals receive training in communication skills, but that training typically involves in-person communications. In a world where email is beginning to replace much of our face-to-face and telephonic communication, there is a need for training that addresses email communications. The purpose of this article is to begin to fill that void in training by examining some of the ways in which e-mail communication differs from other types of communication. In addition, the article will explore the lessons we can learn from mental health professionals about how to communicate more effectively using electronic media.
From David Hoffman
Amidst the flotsam and jetsam that passes through my email inbox, there are a few items that I always read. The Mediate.com Newsletter is one of those items, because it's one of the first places where cutting-edge ideas appear, and the articles are well thought out and well written.
A Well-Founded Fear of Prosecution Mediation and the Unauthorized Practice of Law
This growing concern about the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) arises from reports around the country of charges filed against mediators who are not lawyers. These prosecutions-or in some cases warnings-are primarily directed at divorce mediators as a result of their drafting of detailed marital settlement agreements. However, all mediators have reason to be concerned, because of uncertainties about what constitutes UPL in the context of mediation.