Posts

Mediation scores a goal at the world cup

Image
The US Women’s Soccer Team is fighting (and winning) two battles right now:  in France they are running and kicking a soccer ball with the most elite female players from around the world*; and in federal court in LA they are suing the US Soccer Federation for paying them less than the men’s team and providing inferior training and facilities.  Last Friday, both sides to the lawsuit announced they would use mediationto resolve the dispute.  (No mention was made of who the mediator will be, but yours truly is offering her mediator services!)  This is dramatic and so encouraging to all of us who practice mediation or just love women’s sports.  
Mediation is perfect for this unique situation.  It can move super-fast (I once mediated a construction case quickly to meet a construction/delivery schedule) or stay the lawsuit and its onerous discovery while the parties explore settlement.  In this case, discovery is an explosive issue.  The Soccer Federation had refused to turn over to the EEO…

EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATIO

Image
What is this?  It has a nifty acronym (ENE) but what’s all the fuss? The attention is because the federal court in St. Louis is now using ENE in selected cases and, just as important, ENE really works. Here is the quick take:  ENE provides for a neutral to give all parties an evaluation at the beginning of an ADR session.  The evaluation can be in writing or verbal and it can be delivered jointly or separately in caucus.  Thereafter, the parties can chart their own course in reacting to the evaluation.
Most mediators make some sort of evaluation of the case and share some, or all, of that evaluation during the later stages of the mediation.  But here’s why ENE is different—the evaluation is formalized; no tiptoeing around or phrasing the evaluation in soft, equivocating language for fear of offending someone.  The neutral is tasked by the court to give an early, honest evaluation presented without apology. For the parties, it can be extremely useful to hear a neutral evaluation, espe…
Image
BREAKING BREAD TOGETHER
    The fascinating psychology behind mediation has given us another insight.  Sharing food from a common plate, sometimes called eating “family style” results in better and faster negotiations.  Researchers from University at Chicago and Cornell (The researchers were both women—no surprise, since women are so often responsible for meals.)  set up an experiment in which strangers were assigned to negotiate a hypothetical union-management dispute in which each round of negotiations resulted in another day of the strike costing both sides money.  This provided an incentive to conclude negotiations quickly.  
    However, before negotiations began the negotiators were invited to enjoy a snack of chips and salsa. Half of the negotiators were given one bowl of chips and salsa to share and half were given their own separate bowls.  Turns out that sharing a single bowl led the negotiators to reach a deal after only nine strike days as compared to 13 strike days for th…

How to Be Effective in Mediation-Podcast

Image
You must listen to these podcasts!!!  Attorneys Gary Burger and Debbie Champion record a podcast entitled "Lawyer v Lawyer" and recently I was a guest discussing how to be effective in mediation.  There are three podcasts in total and I have included links to all three. The podcasts are so good and contain some of the best tips I know for succeeding in mediation.   Hopefully we can even get you to laugh a few times too, so check it out!




https://burgerlaw.com/podcast/mediation/
https://burgerlaw.com/podcast/advanced-mediation/
https://burgerlaw.com/podcast/amazing-mediation-tricks/

Slogging Through Mediation

Image
My beloved hiking boots--I wore them hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and I treasure these boots and the trails we covered together.  But they also symbolize what happens to all of us at a mediation.  Many times mediation is a long, hard, uphill slog through the snow, mud and rocks.  Mediation can seem interminable; an all-uphill hike filled with false hopes that the end is just around the corner.  Ah, but that feeling at the end of a case when the mediation succeeds is well worth it.

I was reminded of the slog after reading a recent Illinois decision over how to divide up the estate between the decedent's four children and second wife.  After 13 hours of mediation, the five parties tentatively reached an agreement.  A written "Memorandum of Settlement" was prepared but it was so late that everyone left without signing.  One party explicitly asked if she could "sleep on it."  Another party had previously left the mediation after "only" nine …

Mediation Process - What to Expect at Mediation

Image
Image
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS

By KIM L. KIRN
Mediator at USA&M

Here it is ... the dawn of 2019 and its time for a new year's resolution.  Some past year resolutions I have kept and some have fallen by the wayside.  This year I resolve to begin a blog, or a "blawg" (the cute name for law related blogs)  I resolve to make it interesting, to update it kinda, sorta frequently and to comment on other blogs in support of my new community.  I resolve to be authentic to me and to my growing practice as a mediator.  I resolve to protect the privacy of the parties and attorneys who come before me.  Ready, set, go!



BTW, here is where I spent New Years last year, in Patagonia, Chile.  No such luck this year!