3 posts categorized "Trial"

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.

June 27, 2016

Join the Global Conversation about Conflict Management

What if you could tell the legal system and its professionals what you want and need to manage conflict - in your business, in your community, or in your life?  In 2016 you have an opportunity to do just that.

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.

Forty years later, in 2016 we are all invited to join a much expanded world-wide, 15-month-long conversation being convened by the International Mediation Institute.

The first Global Pound Conference event was held in Singapore on March 17-18, 2016.   Singapore Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon opened the whole conference series by outlining the shift to “appropriate” dispute resolution from “alternative” dispute resolution; secondly, greater international collaboration between courts and governments and through this the development of countries’ best practices whether common law or civil law; and thirdly, recognition of the need for international delivery of legal services.  

The last stop on the tour is July 6, 2017 in London, U.K. The only Canadian event is Saturday, October 15, 2016 in Toronto, in conjunction with the annual conference of the ADR Institute of Canada. 

Core questions will be posed at all of the events with the goal of collecting information to develop future initiatives. The 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 data is already identifying thought-provoking comparisons.

For example, at the Singapore event, in response to a core question about what is the greatest influence on parties when deciding which type of dispute resolution process to use, Advisors ranked legal advice top. Users, as well as both Adjudicative and Non-Adjudicative providers all ranked efficiency first and then legal advice much lower.

Another interesting contrast between the stakeholder groups was that Advisors were the only stakeholder category to rank purely adjudicative dispute resolution processes highly.

All stakeholder groups in Singapore 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, despite the fact that this combination is much less available in practice. All stakeholders were in agreement that combining adjudicative and non-adjudicative processes should be prioritized in order to improve the future of dispute resolution.

Join the conversation. For full information check out the Global Pound Conference.

January 22, 2014

Note to lawyers: People involved in lawsuits prefer mediation

  “People involved in civil lawsuits prefer mediation to nonbinding arbitration”.   That finding by a law professor from University of California, Davis,  is no surprise to me, nor probably to many other mediators.

In my opinion this is valuable information for lawyers seeking to provide the legal services most valuable to their clients.   It is also worth consideration for civil courts seeking to offer alternatives to trial which are most helpful for the people involved in lawsuits.

In the study the clear preference of over 400 litigants from 19 US states was for mediation over nonbinding arbitration. "This finding helps to resolve a long-standing debate over which of the two procedures litigants prefer," according to the researcher, Donna Shestowsky.

The study also found that the litigants preferred to have their lawyers conduct negotiations with the litigants present rather than negotiate between the lawyers only.

 It is likely that a study of litigants  in Canada would have similar results. The preference to be involved with their lawyers in negotiations seems to match well with the preference for mediation. 

 Mediation and nonbinding arbitration are very common alternatives  to trial.   Forms of nonbinding  arbitration  may be called mini-trial or early neutral evaluation.  The distinction is that a mediator will help the parties negotiate to find a resolution acceptable to each of them.  The arbitrator is not involved in the negotiations and provides only an opinion of liability and, if applicable, of the amount of damages. 

 More information about the study:  http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=24986