In 2015, I retired as an American law professor. For most of my career, I used some of the basic concepts of our field such as negotiation, BATNA, positional vs. interest-based negotiation, and facilitative vs. evaluative mediation. I wasn’t always comfortable with these terms, but I used them because I couldn’t imagine shifting to alternatives….

I say regularly that students make the best teachers. My students continue to prove me right. In my recent ADR program I confessed to my undergraduate students that having a conversation about culture was something that made me very anxious. I feel poorly prepared and I fear, with the best intentions, causing offence and appearing…

I wrote this piece for Strathclyde Mediation Clinic after a series of conversations with new and learner mediators. Some surprised me with their passivity in the face of parties’ lack of knowledge or understanding. After some probing I learned that many new mediators recognise the problem but believe the model they were taught prohibits them…

One of the positive aspects of the enforced changes brought about by lockdown is that it enables – or compels – us to try new things. So far, I’ve learned how to create and have issued 13 podcasts, the idea being to spread ideas as widely as possible at this crucial time. After much procrastination,…

Music and art make continuing and surprising contributions to Dispute Resolution. Greg Bond’s June Blog, written as a means of keeping his promise to write about the Beatles, shared lyrics that gave conflict a new voice. Synchronicity has been at work and suddenly the Beatles lyrics are getting a lot of exposure in the conflict…

Time Limited Mediation

“It is pointless to do with more what can be done with fewer.” William of Ockham A colleague recently asked me to present a workshop to employment mediators on ‘Time Limited Mediation.’ Until that moment, like Molière’s bourgeois gentleman realising he’s been speaking prose all his life, it hadn’t occurred to me that this was…

Pollyanna/pɒlɪˈanə/ noun/an excessively cheerful or optimistic person. “what I am saying makes me sound like some ageing Pollyanna who just wants to pretend that all is sweetness and light” Every mediator has been called a Pollyanna at some time or other, usually when encouraging those in conflict that resolution is just around the corner – and often in that…

(This post is being republished because of technical problems when it was first published.) One of the key debates among mediators centres on the word ‘evaluation’. I’ve written about this before – see Has the evaluative label outlived its usefulness? I’m sure many readers are familiar, even bored, with the claimed polarity between facilitative and…

I write this in the aftermath of the really uplifting and wonderfully diverse conference which I had the privilege to host and chair recently in my home city, under the auspices of the International Academy of Mediators. Nearly 120 mediators from over 20 countries attended and shared deep discussions about how we as mediators can…