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Rising Tides Raise All Boats

Fairly Legal Blog by Clare Fowler

The mediation field was just able to celebrate Conflict Resolution Day. We all shared ideas, graphics, events, advertising. As a field, we did something together. It benefitted all of us corporately and individually.

Bill Warters promoted it here promoted it here

ACR promoted it here

I just watched a Fairly Legal episode where a judge is in trouble, and mediator Kate Reed steps in to help. The attorneys were arguing all around her, but the mediator was able to step in and help everyone in the situation.

Watching this episode in the midst of Conflict Resolution Day buzz made me realize how unique we are as a field. The law field conjures images of lawyers “ambulance chasing” to score a client. The health care field discusses how “nurses eat their young.” Politicians, well, they don’t exactly play nice either.

In the mediation field, however, one person’s successes help us all. The rise of new organizations such as APFM, the cementing of existing organizations such as ABA DR, the continuing of traditions such as Cyber Week, help all of us. The prominence of an incredible mediator helps all of us. The success of a mediation firm helps all of us.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of conflict to go around and likely there always will be. Fortunately, it means that as conflict resolvers we are in a field where do not have to compete or “eat our young.” Instead, we get to support each other. The better one mediator does, the better publicity he or she gets, the better word of mouth marketing there is, the more likely the next person in conflict is to look to a mediator.

When one mediator raises their rates, it only raises the bar for everyone. When one mediator gets an advanced degree, it makes our field look more reputable. When one mediator splurges on a fancy office with slick new marketing materials, it makes all of us look more professional. Our job as mediators is to revel in each other’s successes.

Our job is also to spread the mediation Kool-Aid. We need to continue to support incoming mediators and their new ways of thinking. This includes recent graduates who are familiar with technology, as well as mediators coming in from different fields who can teach us what worked for them. The more creative, diverse ideas we can get in the field to market and promote the benefits of mediation, the better for all of us. The more energy and people we can have working to instill mandatory mediation laws, higher quality training, spread awareness of mediation to both individuals and corporations, the better off we will all be.

So instead of preaching win-win only to our clients, let’s preach it to each other. Congratulations to all of the new Foreclosure Mediation Programs that the states are funding, congratulations Stephanie Bell on recently being hired as a Pepperdine faculty member, congratulations APFM on a wonderful conference, and congratulations to the thousands of other people who are working hard to bring peace to this world every day. The mediation tide rises, dear fellow mediators, and it rises for us all.


Clare Fowler

Clare Fowler is Executive Vice-President and Managing Editor at, as well as a mediator and trainer. Clare received her Master's of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, focused on reducing workplace conflicts, from Pepperdine… MORE >

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