“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…

“I think the EU will need to move significantly on both those key points because they’re points of principle.” (Dominic Raab, UK Foreign Secretary, speaking on the BBC this morning) The Brexit negotiation, despite its dizzying stakes, has triggered a fair amount of wry humour. I’ve poked gentle fun at the protagonists myself: Brexit Irritators:…

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…

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….

“All of humanity’s problems stem from [one’s] inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal, Pensées We have done a lot of walking in recent weeks. As we approach the end of the extended “Level 4” of the Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand, we look forward to only slightly lifted restrictions on…

“The ground is so wet; it wasn’t like this in the past. We can’t get started on this year’s soil preparation.” In a recent mediation involving farmers, this was the response to my early inquiry about how things were going, generally. These days, I find that the topic of climate change and its effects arises,…

Recently, I had the privilege of facilitating a session at Scotland’s Citizens Assembly at which politicians from four political parties took the opportunity to discuss with the Assembly members (over 100 people randomly recruited from across Scotland) their vision for the future of the country. At the outset, I framed it as a departure from…

At a lunch at Globe House, Temple Place in London in early 2006 on a balcony overlooking the Thames, the host, Michael Leathes, then an in-house corporate counsel with some years of user experience in mediation and the arb-med hybrid, asked me and the others present – Jeremy Lack, Tina Monberg, Miryana Nešić and Irena…

“You’ve done what?” It took just a moment. The red mist descended. The words were out before I could haul them back in. “You’ve just gone behind my back and undermined what I set out, and we had agreed, we would do….you might at least have had the courtesy…..” The lawyer had just told me…

Photo credit: Creative Commons Jean M.Mas 2/2007 Although my mediation training made no mention of it, 32 years of mediating have taught me that mediations generally unfold over two stages: Stage 1: “Who Did What to Whom”? Here parties (or their lawyers) follow the ritual of naming, blaming and claiming – recounting facts, providing evidence…