SCMA Town Hall Meeting on Mediator Expertise

Live blogging from the SCMA Town Hall Meeting

Lee Jay Berman:  What Makes a Great Mediator:  Brain Storm Session with Attendees

  • integrity
  • resourceful
  • reflective
  • etiquette
  • diplomatic
  • non-attachment
  • presence
  • tolerance of silence
  • spontaneous
  • plan
  • common sense
  • love
  • money
  • ethical
  • insight
  • optimism
  • intelligence
    • knowledge
    • self-knowledge
    • emotional
    • social
  • discernment
  • sensible
  • mindful
  • attractive
  • empathy
  • timing
  • compassion
  • open-minded
  • charasmatic
  • process
  • faith
  • hope and safety
  • ubuntu
  • curious
  • open-minded
  • can resolve most disputes with the proper process
  • but when disputes involve people outside the room, need substantive knowledge

Joan Kessler

  • any mediator can handle any type of dispute
  • legal issues important in litigated cases
  • she’s evaluative
  • she gives bad news to both sides in separate caucus
  • she’s a former jury consultant

Therese Gray

  •  people who come into mediation aren’t thinking clearly
  • her life experience very important
  • attorney students take 3 weeks until they’re comfortable
  • attorneys are suspicious because she isn’t a lawyer
  • her negotiation teachers were federal mediators
  • it’s always about people, not money
  • not an attorney – also not a therapist

Herb Katz:  retired judge

  • it’s up to the lawyers to explain the legal issues

Second Panel:  Myer Sankary at Podium Excitedly Announcing the Neuroscience Seminars Upcoming at the SCMA annual conference.  Left to right:  Sandy Gage, Len Levy, Ken Reed and Alex Polsky

Sandy Gage

    • if can’t get out of the pattern that you’re in (in a specialty) then you unnecessarily limit your possibilities
    • he got called for insurance bad faith cases because he handled them
    • how did Lee Jay Berman (non-lawyer) become so respected in a field dominated by lawyers
    • trust your instincts
      • do you shudder when you hear about the subject of the case?
      • are you not interested in it?
    • do your homework
      • learn what it’s about
      • be prepared to handle the case from a knowledge base
  • Len Levy :
    • this is perception of people using our services
    • consumers in construction and employment believe you need subject area expertise in these areas
  • Ken Reed
    • he feels more competent as a mediator when he understands the legal issues
    • he doesn’t think it’s necessary to be an expert in any subject matter
    • to be effective financially, it is important to be recognized and trusted as someone who knows the underlying subject matter
    • we all learned disputing from our families
    • learned that there are parent experts that would solve the problem (mom and/or dad)
    • when we want a third party to help us resolve our dispute, we’re thinking of someone with subject matter expertise — judge or expert
  • Alex Polsky
    • Alex was told he’d never make it because:
      • he wasn’t a judge
      • he was the first non-judge at JAMS
      • now the group is 40% non-judges
      • he represented defendants and plaintiffs would never hire him
      • Topic today is POWER
        • market place power
        • who cares what we think about expertise
        • it’s a gateway issue
      • the parties have to EMpower the mediator to handle the session
      • the less subject matter expertise he has, the greater amount of preparation he must undertake
        • briefs
        • pre-hearing calls
      • why are we hired?
        • evaluative
        • competitive
        • with expertise sometimes
        • mediations morph — they change throughout the day
        • ask them for help without looking weak
        • then you’ll get the cases
                        author

Victoria Pynchon

Attorney-mediator Victoria Pynchon is a panelist with ADR Services, Inc. Ms. Pynchon was awarded her LL.M Degree in Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute in May of 2006, after 25 years of complex commercial litigation practice, with sub-specialties in intellectual property, securities fraud, antitrust, insurance coverage, consumer class actions and all… MORE >

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