Basics of Mediation and Conflict


Confidentiality: A Hallmark of Mediation

Last week, I needed to visit a state courthouse — somewhere I rarely see now that I am engaged solely in alternative dispute resolution.  As I left, I happened to walk out behind a well-dressed, middle-aged woman striding out the door. Behind me was a well-dressed, middle-aged man.  As soon as we left the building, […]

Mediation and Independence

Today is July 4, Independence Day, and my thoughts turn to the relationship between mediation and independence. No, I don’t believe that mediation would have resolved the dispute between England and the Colonies.  Nor does it seem likely that mediators could have prevented the Revolutionary War with a mediated resolution. Conflict resolution does have its […]

Mediation: it’s about the neutrality

At the conference presented last week by the New England Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution (NE-ACR), several speakers discussed theories about why we think and do the things that we think and do. Some ideas seemed almost obvious and others were counter-intuitive.  Most, if not all, of these presentations were made in the […]

The meaning of “mediation”

Until they have a specific reason to find out exactly what mediation means, many people have only a vague idea about it. Sometimes, people think that a mediator can force the parties into a settlement, and that perception can be more than enough reason to steer clear of mediation. The headline of a recent article […]

The Uneven Pace of Mediation

A quote on Friday from a participant in the NFL court-ordered mediation process in Minneapolis, Minnesota reminded me of a point I was made on Thursday in a University of New Haven classroom in Connecticut.  According to today’s New York Times, Hall of Famer  Carl Eller, who is representing retired NFL players in the dispute, […]

The Dynamic Nature of Conflict

People thinking and talking about conflict often address the idea of the dynamics of a group that is in internal conflict. How these people have interacted in the past and their assumed roles within the group — whether a family, a business, or some other type of group — both have a profound impact on […]

Conflict prevention v. conflict avoidance

When I give public talks on conflict and mediation, I often begin with some tips about avoiding conflicts in the first place. As you might imagine, the tips include ideas about effective communication and understanding the perspectives of other people. I also discuss the idea that conflicts are a part of life — they can’t […]

General Zinni’s thoughts on mediators

Last week, the New York Times ran an op-ed piece by retired Marine general Anthony Zinni titled “Peace-Building That Pays Off.” I think that we can agree that a Marine general is not someone afraid of conflict or of the use of force. So, his perspective on the great work of the United States Institute […]

TV Mediator: “Fairly [Fictional] Legal” – Part II

Last time I wrote about the new TV show “Fairly Legal” inaccurately portraying mediators (or at least, this particular star of the only TV show about mediation to date) as hating lawyers and the law. The wildly atypical glamor of this mediator’s life we can chalk up to TV, but this misconception about mediation and […]

TV Mediator: “Fairly [Fictional] Legal” – Part I

The new TV show “Fairly Legal” features a young woman mediator working in the San Francisco law firm that is being manged by her stepmother, in the wake of her father’s death. It’s TV, so beautiful locations, offices, and people are no surprise. But I do take issue with the suggestion that the main character, […]