Mariam Zadeh was an active trial lawyer in New York City until September 11, 2001, at which time her life was dramatically changed. She moved to Los Angeles, obtained her L.L.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University, and became a partner with Jeffrey Krivis at First Mediation Corporation. Since joining Jeffrey Krivis, Mariam has successfully mediated employment, class actions, commercial, premises & professional liability, mass torts, medical malpractice, ERISA and other tort actions as well as matters pending on appeal. In 2007, Mariam was featured as a “Rising Star” in the Southern California Super Lawyers magazine and was profiled by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. She is a published author and frequently lectures and teaches at ADR workshops and classes throughout California.
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Presenting Magically - Tips for Making a Lasting Impression
At TED 2009, the Technology Entertainment Design conference, Bill Gates delivered a speech on the scourge of malaria, an important global problem the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been addressing since Gates retired from day-to-day operations at Microsoft.
Spiritual Fatigue In Mediation
In the recent edition of the Journal of Dispute Resolution, Magistrate Judge Wayne Brazil writes about how “spiritual fatigue” can affect seasoned mediators. His thesis is that staying centered emotionally and behaviorally in core purposes and principles of mediation can lower the level of psychic strain that this work can impose on mediators and can serve as a significant source of renewable professional energy.
The Confidential Listener Technique
This is the technique suggested by John DeGroote of Settlement Perspectives which is used as a quick, confidential method to determine proximity of settlement positions. While the technique is situational and can vary with each case, generally speaking each party submits its best offer in confidence to the neutral third party (”the confidential listener”), who informs the parties whether their proposals are within a negotiable range. Generally, and absent specific authorization from the proposer, the confidential listener does not relay one side’s confidential proposal to the other.
Say Cheese - Cracker Barrel Signs Mediation Agreement with the EEOC
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. have signed a Universal Agreement to Mediate (UAM) to resolve workplace disputes prior to an EEOC investigation or potential litigation.
Improvisational Negotiation Podcast - Interview with Brian Breiter
Welcome to our first Improvisational Negotiation podcast. This month’s interview is with actor, professor and trial lawyer, Brian Breiter.
Recent Confidentiality Decisions ... In a Nutshell
Jeff Krivis and Mariam Zadeh here offer a summary of decisions from across the country that has impacted the confidentiality protections afforded parties in a mediation.
Ten Tips to Help Take the Pressure Out of Complex Multi-Party Mediations
If you think it’s difficult to get two opposing sides to see eye to eye, imagine a situation where you’re mediating a seventeen party case with fifty-three participants.
Court of Appeal Overturns Class Action Settlement Arrived at in Mediation
The California Court of Appeal in Kullar v. Foot Locker Retail, Inc. found that the trial court abused its discretion in finding the terms of the class action settlement to be fair, reasonable, and adequate where the record failed to establish what investigation counsel conducted or what information counsel reviewed on which counsel based their assessment of the strength of the class members’ claims.
Decision Making and the Complexities of the Brain
Sam Wang, an associate professor of neuroscience at Princeton, and co-author of Welcome to Your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life explains, “decision-making is thought to involve two parts, gathering evidence and committing to a choice. In tasks as simple as deciding whether a shifting pattern of dots is moving to the left or to the right, brain activity in the parietal cortex rises as evidence is gathered, eventually reaching a tipping point of choice - though it is not yet known what brain regions drive the final choice.”
The Impact of Visual Storytelling
The power of visual information while not easily quatifiable, can be utilized quite effectively at the negotiating table to shape and shift another’s perception of the matter at hand. Glenn W. Richardson, Jr. discusses the power of visual information and the relevant supporting scientific data at length in his article on visual storytelling published in the American Communication Journal.
Lessons on Improvisation from Paul Newman (1925 - 2008)
A sign famously hangs in Paul Newman’s Westport, Conn., office that reads, “If I had a plan I would be screwed.” Newman, who died of cancer this year at age 83, firmly believed in the benefit of “creative chaos,” welcoming the opinions of others whether in business or on the movie set.
President Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008
On September 25, 2008, 18 years after his father signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 into law, President George W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (”ADAAA” or “Act”).
Mandatory Mediation Programs Help Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
In light of all the recent dismal activity in the housing market, states across the nation are responding with mandatory mediation programs to provide some form of relief to struggling homeowners.
Martti Ahtisaari Wins The 2008 Nobel Peace Prize
Finland’s ex-president Martti Ahtisaari won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his long career of peace mediation work including a 2005 accord between Indonesia and rebels in its Aceh province and his efforts to build a lasting peace from Africa and Asia to Europe and the Middle East.
Book Review: Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein, and Steve J. Martin
Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive is Robert Cialdini’s latest effort at gathering research findings in behavioral psychology, social science, and related areas that can then be used to generate tips on how to be more persuasive in one’s personal and professional lives.
Confidentiality Update: Petition for Review filed with the California Supreme Court in the Estate of Thottam
California Supreme Court
On September 23, 2008, Stephen L. Kaplan, Esq., counsel for Respondent Jameson Thottam, filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court in the matter of Estate of Thottam. Therein Mr. Kaplan presented the Court with two issues to consider:
ISSUE ##1: Fair v. Bakhtiari, (2006) 40 Cal. 4th 189, 192 held that subdivision (b) of Evidence Code §1123 does not waive mediation confidentiality for purported settlement agreements created during mediation that are...
Harvard Law School's Great Negotiator Award is Presented to the 'The Gates' Artists
The Gates, Central Park by Grahamlyth on Frickr
The Great Negotiator Award, presented annually by Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation has historically been awarded to figures in business and international diplomacy. This year however, the award was given to artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, a married couple recently known for their 2005 project “The Gates” in Central Park, which featured over 7,500 bright orange structures erected along the park’s pathways.
Robert H. Mnookin, Harvard ...
Recent Confidentiality Decisions In a Nutshell
In light of the extensive blogosphere coverage that mediation confidentiality has received in recent months, we will keep this post short and sweet. The last year has yielded a host of decisions from across the country that has impacted the confidentiality protections afforded parties to a mediation.
We have summarized these cases with their respective citations so that the information is available and encapsulated in one area for easy reference.
Estate of Thottam, Case No. B196933 (Cal....
Ten Tips on Maximizing Success in ERISA Mediations
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) disputes present unique and specific challenges in large part due to the statutory limitations imposed on scope of discovery, standard of review and plaintiff’s recovery. “It’s just not fair!” is the response most often heard from plaintiffs after they are reminded at the mediation that the upside of their recovery is limited to the extent of contractual damages available under their disability policy, that a “win” in court means receiving back benefits and being reinstated, and that their “day in court” will amount to no more than a hearing over the administrative record at which they cannot testify. The tips below maximize the likelihood of success by laying the groundwork and staging the negotiation in a manner that encourages closure and enables the plaintiff to understand and appreciate the parameters within which a settlement may be reached.
Hunting for Deception in Mediation – Winning Cases by Understanding Body Language
Yes, we said it. The “D” word. We’ve all used it as negotiators and we’re here to highlight ways of detecting it when it’s used against you.
Common Ground: To take the intimidation out of mediation, experts advise looking for a positive perspective
The X factor in mediation is the ability to influence the other side to pay more or take less. Finding this elusive factor is the challenge for most mediators and often takes place in the face of uncertainty. This uncertainty takes many forms and can serve as a barrier if not acknowledged and addressed.