While working on the manuscript for a book published last year (Negotiation: Things Corporate Counsel need to know but were not taught – Wolters Kluwer, 2017), I submitted a draft to an eclectic peer group from all around the world to gauge whether I was on the right track. The group comprised corporate counsel, business…

One way of describing mediation is as a process that seeks to convert what is apparently a zero or negative sum game into a positive-sum game. This is to use the language of game theory, which analyses strategies that rational players take to secure the best outcomes in interactive, interdependent ‘games’; where the outcome for…

You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone. Al Capone This popular quote attributed to the famous US mobster announce the use of force and other dirty tricks in negotiation. I do not especially like it. I would relativise it by the following…

Winning is wonderful. No question. As I write this, I am admiring the winner’s trophy – earned by my team from the University of New South Wales in Australia – at the recently concluded 13th annual International Commercial Mediation Competition in Paris. Two years ago we earned the same trophy and I never imagined we…

Readers who are experts on the wartime British Prime Minister or have recently watched “The Darkest Hour” may find the above caption familiar. Yes, it has been inspired by Winston Churchill’s famous quote “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” If you like the caption, feel…

As Chip and Dan Heath describe in their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, we are rational beings with a “Rider” that logically analyzes our surroundings. Our Rider tries to direct our emotional side, “the Elephant.” Although we like to think our Rider is in control at all times, in truth,…

For many student mediators across the globe, the start of the new year will bring the final stages of their preparation for two mediation competitions. Next week, the Lex Infinitum competition will be held at V. M. Salgaocar College of Law, Goa, followed, in February, by the ICC Mediation Week in Paris. Now in its…

Over the Christmas break, I had the pleasure of reading Ken Newell’s memoirs, “Captured by a Vision”. Ken was (until his retirement some years ago) a Presbyterian Church minister in Northern Ireland who, out of deeply held conviction arising out of his Christian faith, played a central role in bringing together representatives of both sides…

James Robertson’s novel ‘To be continued…’ introduces us to a character who goes by the name of Mungo Forth Mungo. Mungo is somewhat far fetched, not least because he is a talking toad. In this capacity he engages in many thoughtful and reflective conversations with the main character in the book – Murray Findhorn Elder…

A whole day of mediation without a “joint meeting”. The only time the lawyers met was to begin drafting the settlement agreement. The experts played no part. The day before, the principals had exchanged correspondence deprecating perceived personal insults directed at professional advisers which, it was felt, had damaged reputations. This was a long-running commercial…