Michael A. Zeytoonian
Articles and Video:
Over 2013, we heard a few reasons from employers and companies for why they would forego using Collaborative Law – a much more efficient dispute resolution process than litigation – and opt for litigation or arbitration instead.
If You and Your Lawyer Really Do Want to Negotiate… (01/31/14)
In every dispute a client calls me in to work to resolve, my first inquiry with the other side is to discuss the possibility of early resolution. If we can explore this option even before any litigation has been initiated, it’s even better.
Do Our Words Send the Message We Want to Convey to Accomplish What We Want? (12/27/13)
How often have we said or written something and quickly or soon realized that the message the recipient got was not what we wanted to convey? In the e-communications world, it happens all the time.
Legal Disputes are Parts of Something Greater (12/03/13)
What if we began to see disputes as a small part of something bigger? If we viewed them as a point along a spectrum with a greater continuum? If we placed the dispute within the context of one or more larger relationships?
So What is this Different Kind of Legal Advocacy? (11/04/13)
There is a special niche in the legal profession for the role of focused representation, serving clients as settlement counsel or collaborative counsel. As clients demand better value in legal services and as lawyers are driven to develop better ways to serve their clients, this new niche will continue to grow.
So Who is Your Primary Care Legal Counsel? (05/17/13)
In our last blog, we suggested that people approach resolving legal disputes the way they approach making medical decisions. The starting point is to have a “primary care lawyer”, a true legal counselor, just as we have a primary care physician.
To Resolve a Dispute, the First Step is to Assess Your Options (05/10/13)
I’ve heard people who are in a business or employment dispute often lament: “I’m stuck in this dispute, and now we’ll have to litigate; I have no options.” If you take nothing else from this post, know this: They are usually wrong about this.
Replacing the “Blame Game” with a “New Game Plan” (03/08/13)
Two recent Boston Globe stories (2 21 13) stood out for their common theme – that of laying blame and finding fault. One article entitled “Not Without Blame” apportioned blame for what happened to the 2012 Red Sox. The other story was about the latest fiscal battle between House Republicans and President Obama. The article discussed the need to lay blame on the other side for the looming “sequester”, a default measure making automatic spending cuts if the powers that be in Washington, D.C. can’t come up with mutually acceptable solutions.
What if We Took Losing Out of Dispute Resolution? (09/14/12)
I was recently on Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, MA relaxing and journal writing. I noticed two women hitting a volleyball back and forth in a small box on the sand. In the aftermath of gold and silver medals for U.S. women’s beach volleyball at the London Olympics, these two women played a one on one version, with one big difference.
Two Different Mediators – Moses and Jesus – and the Place of One (08/13/12)
Where is the place where the giver of the law and the recipient of the law are joined? The place of synergy where both sides become one solution?
So What Does Identity Theft Have to do with Dispute Resolution? (03/05/12)
Early on in the movie, Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella’s wife Annie asks him a key question as she tries to understand why her husband got sidetracked on their favorite writer, Terrence Mann, when his mission is to figure out why a voice told him to build a baseball field.
One Key Difference Between Mediation and Collaborative Law is Often Overlooked (02/28/12)
As a mediator and a collaborative lawyer, I often get asked: “What is the difference between mediation and collaborative law (“CL”)?” It’s hard for parties in a dispute and other non-lawyers to see the differences; in fact lawyers have trouble articulating them.
We Hear the Other Side’s Words, But How Well are we Really Listening? (12/05/11)
Over the last month or so, I’ve been struck by several situations in which one party to a conversation or discussion obviously was listening to what was being said, but it was equally obvious that the listener wasn’t really hearing what was being said. I have a couple of theories for why, but it’s often because somewhere early on in the exercise of hearing, the listening party stops listening and starts formulating his response in his mind.
Collaborative Law: High Energy, Out of the Box Legal Creativity (11/14/11)
The largest annual gathering of Collaborative lawyers and professionals just took place in San Francisco from October 27-30, as the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) held its 12th annual Forum. As always, this Forum was an amazing event, four days of insightful, profound and transformative thought in the legal profession.
Is It, Or Are We, Really That Important? (10/10/11)
The other day I was in the men’s bathroom. I couldn’t help but notice that the guy standing next to me was holding up his phone and texting someone. On another occasion I had seen the same guy in the bathroom holding up and reading a document while standing there.
How We View Information Exchange is at the Core of Efficient Dispute Resolution (09/26/11)
Last blog post (Why aren’t more people using CL?), we noted that people in disputes often overlook a very important consideration: how information is exchanged. It is one of three critical questions when it comes to resolving disputes.
Why Don’t More People Use Collaborative Law? (09/12/11)
Lately some of us lawyers who use Collaborative Law (“CL”) in civil disputes other than divorce cases have been brainstorming about the expanded use of CL in employment, business, probate, construction and other areas of law. In the spirit of transparency that is an important element of CL, we’ve focused on why more people don’t use CL to resolve their business or employment or other civil disputes.
Ask your lawyer for “PDR” and help make the “Alternative” the “Primary” (06/27/11)
The more important thing that has happened is that clients have become more savvy and technology has changed the speed and availability of information.
Have You Checked Your Assumptions, Lately? (05/23/11)
Advocacy and the Pursuit of Interests, Without the Fighting (05/02/11)
A dispute was swirling around a man and his followers who were promoting an alternative way of living, different from the norms of their time. The man had just been betrayed by one of his insiders and the dispute was about to come to a head.
We Are Looking for One Good Town (04/25/11)
What if your entire town made an official commitment to practicing legal wellness, for one year? Or for that matter, your entire company? Or your mission-based organization? Or your family?
Compliance More Likely if Cases are Mediated (03/14/11)
Does the way a dispute gets resolved – either through a negotiated out of court settlement process or through a verdict or finding of a court — impact the level of compliance with the terms of the resolution? Put differently, are people more or less likely to carry out the terms of the final resolution when it is the result of a process like mediation or collaborative law or other non-adversarial processes?
Mediation Breaks into TV and Shows its Advantages Over Litigation (03/07/11)
It’s great that there are now two new shows which focus on mediation as an alternative to the court process. One is Fairly Legal (Thursday at 10 pm EST on USA Network); the other is Harry’s Law (Mondays at 10 pm EST on NBC). This post discusses them in greater depth.
Another Situation Calling For Collaborative Law (02/07/11)
Last week, while working essentially in a role of settlement counsel in a business transaction dispute, I came across another situation that highlighted the value of using Collaborative Law (“CL”). Unfortunately, this case was already in litigation, and has already crossed state lines via a change of venue motion which was granted.
Why Be Proactive In Our Treatment Of Employees? (11/29/10)
Workplace bullying and harassment are emerging issues to be addressed by employers. Add the potentially larger problem of increased stress, decreased morale and diminished productivity of those employees who remain after layoffs, who are expected to carry the same load with less people, less experiential knowledge and less resources. Factor in a still sluggish economy and high unemployment, and we have a workplace perfect storm and a cresting wave of workplace discontent.
Time for a Proactive Dialogue on the Health of the Workplace (11/01/10)
Much of my work in preventive law and dispute resolution involves workplace situations and disputes. I have many great business and non-profit clients and many individual clients who are employees. I’ve never liked the idea of being pigeonholed as an “employer’s or management side” or “employee’s side” lawyer any more than I wanted to be labeled a plaintiff’s attorney or defense attorney. Representing both sides has helped me counsel clients better as I understand the perspectives of both sides, along with the views of the other “stakeholders” in workplace issues – families, communities, subcontractors, lawmakers and the consumers of the business products and services involved in the dispute.
IDR Or All-Star Baseball Arbitration: Complete IDR Or Civil Collaborative Law (10/18/10)
To respond to clients’ needs for a better fitting dispute resolution process than some of the established methods, we created a very fluid and flexible Integrated Dispute Resolution (IDR) process earlier this year. IDR allows us to tailor the process to the specific circumstances of each dispute and integrate the right elements from other processes like case evaluation, the use of coaches, consultants and neutral experts, to give the parties what they need for the best resolution.
Baseball Arbitration Belongs Here – Let The Games Begin, And The Disputes End! (10/11/10)
ve been looking at baseball arbitration lately to consider including it in the dispute resolution services we offer at the Zeytoonian Center. Upon further review, it should be added to our DR spectrum. It is a great complement as an option for closure in some of the other processes, like IDR and civil Collaborative Law.