“Managing a Client’s expectations and advising them on a course of action turned out to be far more difficult than negotiating with the other Party.” So wrote newly-minted Indian lawyer Varsha Manoj about her experiences negotiating with her clients. Many lawyers in the US and other countries undoubtedly have similar experiences. Legal clients often experience…

In a few weeks’ time I will come to the end of a two-year mediation engagement in South Eastern Europe. The conflict in question relates to environmental pollution. The issues are complex and heavily contested, and there are many stakeholders – government, city authorities, environmental groups, investors and business, to name a few. It has…

“We’ve come a long way since we last shook hands Still got a long way to go” “Come a Long Way”, Kate McGarrigle & Louden Wainwright III performed by Kate & Anna McGarrigle and others (including Kate and Louden’s children, Martha and Rufus Towards the end of last year, we took our 13-year-old granddaughter and…

Christmas is a holiday and a time for reflection and relaxation for many around the world, so in this blog post I won’t focus on mediation as it is practiced and trained. Instead I make two recommendations for films to watch, both of which are centered around the theme of empathy. Both touched me and…

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” was a saying I heard quite a few times while growing up, as another childhood wheeze bit the dust. I returned to it while reading Michal Sandel’s recent book ‘The Tyranny of Merit’, in which he takes a very critical look at the notion of meritocracy….

I write this in the aftermath of yet another mediation in which the protagonists exhibited symptoms of having been seriously traumatised by the litigation process to which they had been exposed. Depression, suicidal thoughts, anger, loathing, destroyed relationships, large amounts of money spent with no discernible value. And this was a commercial situation, not a…

“Half moons ago people were hollowed-out tablets of stone spaces were given them according to spaces they left . . . some spaces were filled with darkness no light would shine there . . .” – From “Afkasi” by Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh, former poet laureate of New Zealand Many of you will be familiar…

In theory, we expect the parties’ opening statements to be swift, persuasive and forceful. At least, this is what I teach my students in ADR classes. In my mediation room, sadly, this occurs rather sporadically. The communication at the table is, unfortunately, not faultless. I guess every mediator has witnessed long, ambiguous monologue instead of…

What mediators do with words

‘The world is made, not found’ (W. Barnett Pearce) (1) I just spent an intensive weekend on Zoom with my students, helping them navigate their early steps into mediation practice. So much has changed. I have never met most of them face to face; we sit at home on our screens; there are no coffee…

Might we get better results in many of the tasks we undertake if we gave more thought to the way we do things before focusing too early on what to do?  As mediators we know that spending sufficient time on the process of problem solving and negotiation pays dividends in terms of the content. There are…