6 posts categorized "Paralegals"

February 10, 2020

Do I Have What It Takes To Be A Mediator? 

What are the qualities that contribute to being an effective mediator?  Recent conversations with people considering careers as mediators, brought me back to this topic.   

There is a great deal written about what skills are needed by a mediator to be effective.  Those skills are learned in courses which teach mediation, such as the courses offered by Munn Conflict Resolution Services.  

If I want to assess the personal traits I need to work as mediator, that subject has not had as much attention by authors.

How do I know if I have what it takes to be a mediator? 

After more than 20 years teaching mediation courses and more years as a mediator, here’s my checklist of seven essential mediator traits.

  • Adaptability
    • A mediator needs ability to build genuine rapport with many different people. Without feeling trust people will not open up to reveal what they truly need. 
    • The mediator adapts to what the people want rather than trying to impose an outcome on them.  
  • Objectivity and self -control
    • The mediator must always remain objective and never jump to the side of one of the disputing people, even in a private conversation with them.
    • The mediator must resist any temptation to try to manipulate people.
    • The mediator must be able to manage their own emotions. Getting angry right back at them is not effective.
  • Tenacity/ Perseverance
    • If the mediator were to quit when people say they can’t agree, very few mediations would result in an agreed outcome.  There is usually a way around any impasse and the mediator needs to stay focussed on the way forward, not the barriers.
  • Demeanour
    • An organized and confident professional manner is necessary to reassure people that the mediator can help even when the situation is difficult.
  • Analytical ability
    • The mediator needs to be constantly alert to what is happening with each person in the room, with the overall meeting dynamics, and how the mediator’s intervention is affecting the people.
    • Sometimes called intuition, the mediator needs to be able to discern what people need despite what they say and their legal positioning.
  • Creativity
    • Creativity is the spark that can help people to find new ideas for solutions, and to be willing to keep talking to build those ideas into a practical agreement.
  • Patience & Tact
    • It takes patience and tact to maintain rapport with people and at the same time be able to help them assess ideas that may be very emotional or challenging.
    • Also patience and tact are needed to keep listening and building understanding between people who do not believe it is possible to resolve their situation.

In addition to this list of seven personal qualities,  the mediator needs knowledge about the subject area of the mediation at least to the level of understanding the nuances of the conflict.

If you ticked off most of these boxes, consider taking a mediation course.   Maybe you have a new direction for your career.

Build your mediation skills in spring 2020!

Register now for the course Fundamentals of Mediation at Munn Conflict Resolution Services in beautiful London, Ontario. 

Early Registration Discount ends Friday, February 14!

Course # 1 – Fundamentals of Mediation – March 25, 26, 27, 30 and 31, 2020 – 5 days – 40 hours.

Recognized by

  •  the ADR Institute of Ontario
  • the Law Society of Ontario.

Click here for full details about our Mediator Education Program.

October 30, 2016

Toronto Speaks Out in the World of Commercial Dispute Resolution

The Global Pound Conference event was held in Toronto on October 15, 2016, the only Canadian venue.

In 2016 participants with an interest in the legal system are invited to join a world-wide, 15-month-long conversation being convened by the International Mediation Institute. There are currently 40 events planned in 31 countries starting in Singapore in March 2016 and ending in London, U.K. in July, 2017.

Forty years ago modern mediation began after the Roscoe Pound Conference in St Paul, Minnesota in 1976, a historic gathering to discuss ways to address then-current dissatisfaction with the American legal system and to reform the administration and delivery of justice.  The Global Pound Conference is the much-expanded update of that event.

At all Global Pound Conference events core questions are posed and then voted on by participants with the goal of collecting information to develop future initiatives for better access to justice, locally and globally.

In Toronto several panels of local experts responded to the voting results that day on each series of core questions. This was added to the engaging day-long discussion of better, more appropriate dispute resolution for commercial matters and how to get there. 

The Global Pound Conference participants/ stakeholders are categorized and comparisons are made in the responses between the categories. The stakeholder categories are Party/User, Advisor (lawyer, consultant), Adjudicative Provider (arbitrator, judge), Non-Adjudicative Provider (mediator, conciliator), and Influencer (educator, researcher, government).

The Toronto data identified some thought-provoking comparisons.

For example, Parties, Advisors, Adjudicative Providers, and Influencers rated financial outcomes, such as damages as the most important before starting a process in commercial dispute resolution. In contrast only Non-Adjudicative Providers rated financial outcomes slightly lower than and about equal to action-focused outcomes (prevent or require an action from a party). 

Another interesting comparison between the stakeholder groups in Toronto was that Parties, Adjudicative and Non-Adjudicative Providers ranked the combination of adjudicative and non-adjudicative processes (such as arbitration or litigation with mediation or conciliation) as the most effective dispute resolution process. In contrast Advisors and Influencers ranked preventative, pre-dispute or pre-escalation processes as most effective.

All stakeholder groups in Toronto ranked Advisors as being most likely to be resistant to change in commercial dispute resolution practice.

Another interesting comparison was the stakeholder group perceptions of the role parties want lawyers to take in the dispute resolution process. Parties said they want lawyers to work collaboratively with them to navigate the process. Advisors, Adjudicative and Non-Adjudicative Providers all said that the parties want lawyers to speak for them or advocate on their behalf. 

For those of us working in commercial dispute resolution despite the disappointingly small sample size in Toronto, there is lots to learn already from the local data, and there is much more to discover as the global data is collected.

For full information and the app to see the voting results check out the Global Pound Conference.

September 8, 2016

Build your conflict resolution skills this fall ! Still space in Fundamentals of Mediation starting September 28.

According to a survey by the American Management Association, managers typically spend at least 24% of their time managing conflict. Based on my own experience this estimate seems low.

What was not included were the statistics about how many managers fear conflict or struggle to manage conflict. And then there is the impact of mismanaged conflict on other employees, on workteams and on the business itself, whatever the mission of the organization is.

Build your skills and confidence to resolve conflict whether you are a manager, a team member, or an advisor, a professional or consultant providing advice to organizations.

Register for the Mediator Education Program at Munn Conflict Resolution Services this fall.

Course # 1 – Fundamentals of Mediation – Sept 28 to Oct 4, 2016 – 5 days – 40 hours - Early registration discount ends August 26 - Recognized by the ADR Institute of Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada – Click here for details.  

Course # 2 – Mediation Beyond the Basics – November 2, 3, & 4, 2016 – 3 days – 21 hours

Course # 3 - Advanced Mediation – November 30, December 1 & 2, 2016 – 3 days – 21 hours

You might even decide to add Mediator to your career path!

February 19, 2016

Why do I Need to Know the Fundamentals of Mediation?

I need to help my team members resolve conflict between them.  I learned mediation so that I could be more effective. -  Supervisor 

An excellent course. Must be taken by managers, problem solvers and those that have responsible jobs!  - Business owner

As manager of a team that provides services to the whole organization I end up mediating conflict between other departments and my staff.   I learned the mediation skills to do this better. - Manager

An excellent opportunity to build on existing skills and interests. Encourages alternative negotiation and mediation processes which are very useful.  - Lawyer

With my mediation training, I am positioned for promotion. This was a worthwhile investment in my career.  - Administrator

Looking forward to using my new mediation skills to build a retirement business mediating in my field. - Recently retired professional

Whatever your reason is

Fundamentals of Mediation is an opportunity to build your practical skills to manage and resolve conflict.

Next course dates April 6, 7, 8, 11, and 12, 2016. Early registration discount until March 4, 2016.

Click here to register.

Don`t miss this opportunity.

December 30, 2015

Educating Mediators ≠ Educating Lawyers

Recently I was asked, “What is the difference between educating lawyers and educating mediators”?

One difference is a result of basic brain function. In general, legal education requires declarative memory whereas mediator education requires procedural memory.

Declarative memory is “memory that a person can state in words”, according to Wikipedia. This is the type of memory that is understood to be enhanced by our capacity to consolidate memories through sleep, such as when we reactivate newly learned memories.

In contrast, using the Wikipedia definition, procedural memory is created through “repeating a complex activity over and over again until all of the relevant neural systems work together to automatically produce the activity”. This kind of memory is typically not accessed consciously. Procedural memory is a type of implicit memory where our previous experiences aid the performance of a task even though we do not have conscious awareness of these previous experiences.

Thus because of the way our brains work, the method of providing an education for the declarative memory needed by lawyers is different than the education for the procedural memory needed by mediators.

If you are considering becoming a mediator or gaining mediation skills this is important.

In order to build procedural memories it is important for mediator education to include many opportunities for learning through experience such as in-class practise, and role playing as a mediator.

Consider the class size and the format of your possible mediation courses.   A small class experience with lots of opportunity to practise using the concepts taught in the course will deliver the most effective procedural memory as you build your mediator skills. For example, the maximum class size in the Mediator Education Program at Munn Conflict Resolution Services is 12 students. In our basic 40-hour course, Fundamentals of Mediation, there are three days of in-class practise segments. In addition each student has extensive opportunities to role play as a mediator, in at least two different scenarios with coaching from an experienced mediator.

Our course Fundamentals of Mediation is accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada for Continuing Professional Development.    

This program contains 1.75 Professionalism Hours and 38.25 Substantive Hours.

August 15, 2015

Lawyers and Paralegals: Fundamentals of Mediation Contains CPD hours

Our basic course, Fundamentals of Mediation on September 30, October 1, 2, 5, and 6, 2015  is accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada for CPD.

This program contains 1.25 Professionalism Hours and 38.75 Substantive Hours. 

Time is running out!  Discounted fee applies until August 28, 2015.  

Class size is limited.  Register now to join us.



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