University of Strathclyde, host to Learning by Doing, mediation clinic conference

By the everyday miracle of Zoom, Carrie Menkel-Meadow spoke from her LA office to a Glasgow conference with a worldwide audience. Wrapping up ‘Learning by Doing,’ the UK’s first conference devoted to mediation clinics, her keynote described the inspiration for a whole career: a colleague in her legal aid office in the 1970s. While Carrie…

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…

The process of discerning what to write about in a blog is interesting. Sometimes inspiration comes quickly. On other occasions, there is a barren wilderness, or a hotchpotch of half-formed ideas. This month feels like the last of these. I thought to write about a really excellent new book by the Oxford economists, Paul Collier…

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,…

Do Black Lives Matter

“Racially discriminatory behavior may be reduced more effectively when racial issues are made salient rather than ignored or obscured.” (1) This week I’ve been thinking about white privilege. Ok, my white privilege. Like much of the planet I was horrified by the casual, almost routine asphyxiation of George Floyd. I wasn’t surprised by protest and…

Ten weeks ago, I had barely heard of Zoom. At that time, I was fairly sceptical about online mediation in the kind of cases I do. It could never substitute for face to face meetings with their intimacy and candour. Or so I thought. I have recently undertaken a number of mediations using Zoom. It…

I was privileged recently to give opening remarks at a meeting of mediators in the International Academy of Mediators. The remarks were a reflection on the times we as mediators are living in. I share an adapted version here. “There is no us and them, only us”. These words were uttered here in Edinburgh in…

Woman wearing facemask

‘He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars’ (William Blake, Jerusalem) The coronavirus pandemic deals its cards very unevenly. Some individuals get it lightly, if at all, and even countries seem to be spared, at least for now. For others it’s a catastrophe. Here in the UK we watch, helpless,…