It is common to hear people observe, reflecting on the pandemic, that things will never go back to the way they were. There is certainly good reason to believe that virtual meetings are now a fact of life. If you “zoom” you are either moving fast or teleconferencing on Zoom, capitalization optional, according to the…

A quarter century ago, Professor Leonard Riskin published an article describing a grid of mediator orientiations including a facilitative-evaluative dimension.  Despite critiques of this framework, including by Riskin himself, many mediators, trainers, and teachers still use these concepts as mediation models, expressing strong feelings that one model is good and the other is bad. These…

“It’s hard to beat Dark Side of the Moon” he said. “What a piece of music.” I agreed: “Did you ever see Pink Floyd play Dark Side live? I recall being at Earls Court in 1994.” “I was there too!” he exclaimed. For a moment or two, we reflected on the album’s seemingly relevant song…

  The International Commercial Mediation Competition made a brave online appearance this year – the 16th year in which the ICC has delivered the most important competition of its kind in the world. For 15 of these 16 years it has been my privilege to be part of this experience as the coach for my…

ICC’s biggest educational event of the year, its International Mediation Competition, took place from 5 to 11 February 2021 and, for the first time of its history, it was conducted online. It was its 16th edition and 48 universities from 39 countries competed online, via a dedicated platform. It has been an opportunity for us,…

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…

In this interview, Dr. Frank Gerhards shares his experience in using mediation proceedings to successfully resolve an active ingredient patent dispute between two major crop protection companies. Dr. Frank Gerhards is a qualified German patent attorney and representative before the European Patent Office, employed with Bayer Intellectual Property (BIP) since 2006 and group leader since…

Covid is the gift that keeps on giving. It has provided a wonderful focus for blame that has let us off the hook for a lot of things. It has coincided with significant changes in our mediation experiences and again has been seized on as the culprit when mediation sessions go ‘off piste’. The new…

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…

Sometimes I wonder what the facilitation and mediation work I do is all about. By which I mean what purpose does it perform for clients. What is it that they are asking for from me, and what is it that they actually get? Do they always really want what they are ostensibly asking for? Do…