I just finished teaching a mediation training program for a group of extraordinary people from a wide range of professional and personal backgrounds. It was a delight to work with smart, insightful, good-humored men and women who demonstrated so much intellectual curiosity and a passion for learning.
I promised to pull together for them a selection of must-read articles for mediators — hence this post. I am also including links to suggested sites. I’m breaking it all down into three sections: Read, Learn, and Connect.
In this section are articles tackling important questions about the practice of mediation. These articles have served as the focus of discussion here in the blogosphere and in the real world.
- “Is that All There is? The ‘Problem’ in Court-Oriented Mediation“, by ADR scholars Leonard Riskin and Nancy Welsh. From the abstract: “In particular, court-oriented mediation now reflects the dominance and preferences of lawyers and insurance claims adjusters… Mediation is structured so that litigation issues predominate; other potential issues – personal, psychological, relational, communitarian – disappear.”
- “Moving Mediation Back Toward its Historic Roots – Suggested Changes” (in PDF), by Joseph P. McMahon, Jr. This article concerns itself with two central criticisms of mediation today: “(1) the legal community has learned to accept low-functioning mediation; and (2) changes are needed to bring commercial and environmental mediation to their full potential.” (With appreciation to Stephanie West Allen.)
- “Alone in the Hallway: Challenges to Effective Self-Representation in Negotiation,” (in PDF) by Erica Fox, an article discussing issues of justice and self-agency in court-connected mediation when parties must negotiate on their own in the hallway of the American courthouse. (Thanks to Michael Moffitt.)
- “Professional Mediator: A Distinction that Makes a Difference“, by Jeff Kichaven, clarifying the significant differences between the work of the judge and that of a mediator. Vive la difference! (Thanks, Geoff!)
What follows are links to resources for new and experienced mediators to continue to develop the capacity to mediate well.
The following links connect you to bleeding-edge ideas and online conversations about mediation, negotiation, and ADR, or to opportunities to participate in professional associations for ADR practitioners.
- World Directory of ADR Blogs @ ADRblogs.com. My ongoing effort to track and catalog blogs world-wide that discuss ADR, conflict resolution, negotiation, and innovations in the practice of law and the delivery of justice. All across the globe mediators are wrestling with the issues that face a still-developing field. A random sampling of English language blogs include Brains on Purpose, exploring the intersection between brain sciences and conflict resolution; Settle It Now, a fresh new look at negotiation and ADR from the perspective of a former litigator and experienced commercial mediator; Mediator Tech, dedicated to making technology accessible for even tech-challenged mediators; Mediator Blah…Blah, a self-described “overly opinionated mediation resource” from New Zealand; and ICT for Peacebuilding, a Sri Lankan blog exploring the intersection between technology and conflict resolution while examining ethnopolitical conflict and its transformation.
- American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution. Providing leadership in ADR to advance the field and promote public confidence. The Section is open to anyone committed to dispute resolution — it’s not just for attorneys by any means. It has established a committee on mediator ethical guidance where practitioners can submit questions to the experts, and is responsible for the development of ABA Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators (PDF). The Section famously set the record straight that the practice of mediation is open to all regardless of profession of origin in its February 2002 Resolution on Mediation and the Unauthorized Practice of Law (PDF).
- MassUMA Working Group web site and blog. For mediators and others interested in taking part in an ongoing conversation about enacting the Uniform Mediation Act in Massachusetts. A chance to participate in making mediation history. Visit the MassUMA Blog to sign up for advance notice of meetings or to add your voice to online discussion.