Time Lord Mediators

Fairly Legal Blog by Clare Fowler

So, suddenly, I am a Doctor Who fan. I don’t know how it happened, I never used to like the show, it’s not really my style, but these last few seasons have completely captured me. The graphics, the writing, the acting, just incredible.

But there is an additional piece that I think you might find intriguing, too.

The premise of Doctor Who is that he is a time lord (meaning he can move through time and space) and travels around, saving some poor little species from a big, bad invading planet. But then he does some thing crazy. I mean, like out of this world (haha, see what I did there), revolutionary crazy. He listens to them.


I know, crazy. He listens to the poor innocent species, and the big bad invading planet, and finds out what they want. He becomes the mediator, and in every show, through some pretty amazing intergalactic creativity, he helps them find a resolution.

Here’s how:

1) He doesn’t own a gun. He doesn’t use threats or manipulation, but rather always finds a way to help people be motivated to figure it out on their own.

2) There is no good guy and no bad guy. This is a pretty powerful realization for a show. With pretty powerful implications for all of us. As a culture, we really like there to be a bad guy, a reason why things went south, a scapegoat, someone who started it, leaving us feeling pretty clear and blameless and dang good about ourselves. But what if . . . shudder to even say it . . . we are all a little good and even (deep breath) a little bad? What if the big bad invading planet got kicked out of their world and they just need to rest while they move on to the next planet? And what if that poor innocent little species is actually behaving pretty poorly? What if people could take responsibility for their bad behavior and reinforce the good behavior, what ramifications could that have? Could we stop wasting time blaming and start fixing the problem?

3) He has two hearts. Ok, I realize that we might have some physical limitations in following this example, but go with me on this. What if we tried to have two hearts when we are working to resolve problems? What if we advocated truly deeply and passionately for all of our clients, instead of trying to stick to a neutral process? What this means for us as conflict resolvers is that we really care, we are interested, we are curious, we want to know why things happen, and we really want to help make things better.

So, unfortunately, I don’t have a super time machine, but I do have a new set of ground rules which I think my clients will appreciate:

1) I don’t use a gun.

2) There is no good guy and no bad guy here, only a bad problem and good ideas.

3) I have two hearts.

So, go forth into the galaxy, my friends, and make some peace!


Clare Fowler

Clare Fowler is Executive Vice-President and Managing Editor at Mediate.com.  Clare received her Master's of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, focused on reducing workplace conflicts, from Pepperdine University School of Education. Clare also coordinated… MORE >

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