Michael Leathes

Michael Leathes

Michael Leathes is a former in-house counsel and in that capacity a frequent user of mediation services. After retiring in 2007, Michael helped establish the International Mediation Institute (IMI) as a charitable institution and served in a pro bono capacity as the first Executive Director of the IMI. He stepped down from the IMI Board in 2015. Michael is the author of Negotiation: Things corporate counsel need to know but were not taught (Wolters Kluwer, 2017). 

Contact Michael Leathes

Website: www.imimediation.org

Articles and Video:

Not Leading By Example (02/02/21)
Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it’s the only means, declared Einstein.

A Negotiation Innovation: An intelligent negotiation assistant (01/14/21)
I am sitting in a room, negotiating a sale, and I’m thinking: Which is likely to be more favorable to me: put a figure on the table, or insist the Other does so first?

Mobilizing Mediatively (08/17/20)
Recently, Mediate.com serialised a jigsaw of 23 pieces by 40 authors in 16 countries, in the form of both articles and author interviews, all part of the over-arching theme Seven Keys to Unlock Mediation’s Golden Age. This articles summarizes those 23 pieces.

7th Key-Usage: Forge a User-driven Vision for Mediation; Then Fund It (07/05/20)
Today the mediation field needs to go further. It needs to articulate a new, mature, vision. One that unlocks its Golden Age.

Book Review: The Singapore Convention on Mediation: A Commentary (03/06/20)
Anyone managing international business disputes needs to understand the Singapore Convention on Mediation.

Lawyer Negotiation: Theory, Practice & Law - Book Review (11/10/17)
This is a review of the book Lawyer Negotiation: Theory, Practice and Law, by Jay Folberg and Dwight Golann.

Michael Leathes’ New Negotiation Book - Book Review (06/16/17)
Michael Leathes has written a book on negotiation that is aimed at corporate counsel.

Deal Facilitators Can Help Transform The Brexit Negotiations (10/25/16)
Days after June's UK Brexit Referendum, US Secretary of State John Kerry advised: 'It is absolutely essential that we stay focused on how, in this transitional period, nobody loses their head, nobody goes off half-cocked, people don't start ginning up scatterbrained or revengeful premises.'

Data will defeat “the deadening drag of status quoism” The Global Pound Conference Series has kicked off (04/04/16)
The goal of the GPC Series 2016-17 is to provide the core global data needed to address the causes and remedies of user dissatisfaction with dispute resolution.

Need a mediator? Don’t Just Phone-a-Friend! Recommendations alone are not the best way to select a mediator (11/23/15)
People commonly rely on word of mouth to choose a lawyer, dentist, architect, accountant, surveyor, physician or just about any other professional. Selecting a mediator by word of mouth, however, is most likely not your best choice for a number of reasons.

The Medici Effect of Mediation (04/10/15)
As the Danish mediator Tina Monberg has pointed out in The Butterfly Effect, chaos theory sits at many intersections: conflict and consensus; litigation and negotiation; problem and solution; public policy and private process, art and science, servant leadership and personal leadership, and others. Mediation is both a practice and a theory, cutting across negotiation and justice, practicality and academia, needs and demands.

F=T(Q+I) F = The Future; T=Trust; Q=Quality; I=Information (02/02/15)
The Future of mediation hangs on several factors. Probably the most important is Trust. If mediation is not widely trusted by users, it has a mediocre future. This is simply because mediation depends on the parties, who usually do not trust each other, fully trusting the mediator and the mediation process. Unfortunately, mediation appears to stand some way down the trust stakes.

The Urgent Need For Data: Are the Needs of Users and the Dispute Resolution Market Misaligned? (11/07/14)
Seismic tremors emanating from London's Guildhall on October 29th 2014 are set to send change-inducing shockwaves, around the international dispute resolution community. It is widely known that dispute resolution's customers, the disputants, have different needs and interests from the supply side of the market such as external counsel, ADR providers, and educators. The shock comes from the initial data generated at this Convention, suggesting just how far out of alignment the supply side may be with the views and needs of the users. Additional data is needed on an international scale.

Harvesting Data to Shape the Future of International Dispute Resolution (09/22/14)
Among the early words of wisdom expressed by Sherlock Holmes was this classic line: "I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts." And so it is with dispute resolution. There is a paucity of reliable statistics out there to enable users of dispute resolution services, as well as advisers, providers, educators, adjudicators and policymakers, to understand how best to prepare and steer ourselves for the future.

Time for a Mediator’s Hippocratic Oath? (08/19/14)
It is one of the defining characteristics of professions whose stakeholders invest great trust in their practitioners. Doctors make the Hippocratic Oath. Accountants, lawyers, police officers, elected officials, social workers, veterinarians and others in a position of trust also make various forms of oaths. Yet mediators do not make an oath, even though mediators are invariably taken into parties’ trust. Should mediators make a Hippocratic-style oath?

Book Review: The Variegated Landscape of Mediation (07/31/14)
Never before has an attempt been made to capture the distinctive qualities and differences that combine to make mediation eclectic and also truly comprehensible. Until now. 'The Variegated Landscape of Mediation' (Eleven International Publishing, July 2014) is a collaboration of around 90 of mediation's thought leaders from around the world. It is the first work that explains on a global plane how mediation has cross-pollinated itself into such a kaleidoscopic display of both consistent and contradictory features.

20 Questions Every Corporate General Counsel or Head of Litigation Might Ask in Mediation (07/11/14)
Being responsible for resolving a large number of disputes for any organization is a stressful occupation. It involves risk, cost and resources and navigating between leadership and management, success and failure as well as blame and experimentation. Although there is no magic bullet, the task can be aided considerably by harvesting the answers to the following twenty questions, and devising an action plan where weaknesses are exposed.

20 Questions Every Corporate General Counsel or Head of Litigation Might Very Well Ask (07/09/14)
Being responsible for resolving a large number of disputes for any organization is a stressful occupation. It involves risk, cost and resources and navigating between leadership and management, success and failure as well as blame and experimentation. Although there is no magic bullet, the task can be aided considerably by harvesting the answers to the following twenty questions, and devising an action plan where weaknesses are exposed.

The Dispute Resolution Dilemma: Opt-In or Opt-Out? (05/23/14)
In his now famous Stanford Commencement Address in June 2005, Steve Jobs remarked: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life…. [and] to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”

Time for Another Big Bang in Alternative Dispute Resolution - The World Needs a Global Pound Conference (01/23/14)
ADR is sleepwalking globally.  It needs to be shaken out of its slumber.  There is a way to do it. A truly Global Pound Conference!

Engineering Peace - Achieving the promise of mediation in the world's most difficult conflicts (09/16/13)
Achieving the promise of mediation in conflicts that threaten the stability of societies and economies is one of the most important challenges of our time. Inspiring progress has been made in the past few years by the UN, and political leaders increasingly perceive mediation as vital for avoiding and resolving conflict at all levels in society, worldwide. Yet in individual cases mediation is rarely used as an avoidance and prevention process, and left until conflicts have escalated to the point that achieving a timely negotiated outcome, or avoiding a catastrophe, is virtually out of reach.

The Future of ADR in 2020 (10/12/12)
This article discusses the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of mediation. This is an edited version of the Opening Plenary Keynote Speech at the Inaugural 5C's ADR Conference held at the Supreme Court of Singapore on October 4-5 2012.

Stop Shoveling Smoke! Give Users a Classic Definition of Mediation (09/12/11)
Mediation needs one classic definition of itself. In a field widely populated by lawyers, professionals who the great jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. noted spend a great deal of time shovelling smoke, we have literally hundreds of different published definitions of mediation.

Mediator Competency is like Truth, Beauty and Contact Lenses... Why the fifth mechanism to assure users about mediator quality really works (06/09/11)
In some places, interior designers, dog-walkers and florists are now jobs that need to be licensed.  How mediators have escaped until now is a wonder, but it’s coming. 

2020 Vision - Where In the World Will Mediation Be In 10 Years? (11/17/10)
Where could mediation be in 10 years time? Can stakeholders realistically exert a significant positive influence on the field’s future progression?

International and Comparative Mediation: Legal Perspectives (Book Review) (09/27/10)
What marks this book out as exceptional, valuable, inspiring and even myth-busting is its contemporary focus on the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the practice of mediation - in civil and common law jurisdictions and also at a transnational level - and the engaging way it is written and presented.

Mediation Representation: Advocating As A Problem-Solver In Any Country Or Culture (Book Review) (05/03/10)
Gladiatorial attorneys the world over are probably the single greatest barrier to a successful negotiated outcome. By not consciously adapting their style from the 'I Gonna Win/You Gonna Lose' approach characterized by litigation and arbitration, attorneys representing clients in mediation can seriously impede, miss and even block the greater benefits for their clients potentially available from a negotiated outcome.

A Perfect Storm is Gathering (02/18/09)
A Perfect Storm is gathering, comprising the effects of severe economic downturn, the alacrity with which corporate law departments seek greater transparency and outcome certainty, and new tools in the field of information and communication technology. This convergence provokes serious changes in attitude and approach by all dispute resolution stakeholders – especially trial lawyers, mediators and mediation provider organizations. The status quo has had its day. Good news for those nimble enough to adapt quickly. This article is jointly written by a group of twelve institutional users of mediation services.

Mediators in Need of Momentum: ADR in Europe (01/13/03)
Mediation got off to a good start in Europe. Heralded as a solution to clogged-up courts, spiralling legal fees and business relationships torn apart by gladiatorial lawyers, it enjoyed a big initial take-up in some countries during the early and mid-1990s. However, the movement towards alternative dispute resolution is in danger of stalling in Europe.