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The Future of Mediation in Different Sectors

Happy New Year!!  It is 2015, 39 years after Warren Burger gave his blessing to the launch of the ADR movement.  There is still no clear consensus as to whether mediation is a profession or just a process.  In either event, most professional mediators agree that when it comes to incorporating mediation into the cultural mindset we have not lived up to our potential.  In a previous article here we discussed the nine things that we believe have kept mediation from making it into the mainstream.  In this article we wanted to shift the focus, move away from what has held us back, and look towards the future and where we can go. 

In our work with Mediation Training Group, we present monthly Continuing Mediator Education Workshops.  This year, we decided we would to incorporate’s futuristic theme and ask workshop participants to come up with ideas about where and how mediation could be used.  Here is what we have come up with so far. We will update this list throughout 2015.  

1.  Schools.  In light of recent school shootings, we must make mediation the first choice for students who feels that they have been dismissed, discounted, or disrespected.

2.  Athletics and Sports.  Inter and intra-team disputes as well as disputes involving coaches and parents of team members. 

3.  Discipline of Professional and Amateur Athletes.  Sexual misconduct, domestic violence, misdirected parenting, substance abuse….  When our athletes hit bumps in the road their issues can be sorted out in mediation.  (Consider a multi-party mediation model that is reminiscent of the intervention process.)

4.  Police and Citizen/Community Conflict.  As we watch the events that spawned in Ferguson, Missouri play out we have to wonder – where are the mediators? 

5.  Home Owner and Condo Associations.  Boards, elections, pets, neighbors.  If you have ever lived in an association you know what we mean.

6.  Privacy.  Privacy issues on the internet, and elsewhere.

7.  Parent-Teen.  Conflicts involving driving and curfews.

8.  Immigration.  No matter what side of the immigration debate you sit on, it is clear that mediation offers a possible mechanism for resolving individual immigration issues.

9.  Health Insurance Disputes.  Mediated by mediators who have no allegiance to insurance companies.

10.  Guantanamo Prisoners. 

11.  Professional Grievances.

12. Rare Earth Elements.  These are the seventeen chemical elements that make the high tech world we live in today possible.  Everything from the miniaturization of electronics, to the enabling of green energy and medical technologies, to supporting a myriad of essential telecommunications and defense systems depends on the unique magnetic, phosphorescent, and catalytic properties of these elements.

13.  FDIC Litigation.  Mediation provides a way for handling officers’ and directors’ liability.

14.  Animal-related Disputes.

15.  Creation of an International Space Station.

16.  College Football Playoffs.  The recent playoffs cried out for a mediator. 

17.  5th Amendment Takings.  There is no set formula used to determine when a regulation becomes a taking.

18.  Government vs Public Disputes.

19.  Leadership Teams.

20.  All Legislation.  Clearly, it is time for the creation of a mediation unit in Congress and every state legislature.

21.  International Consumer Disputes.  Colin Rule did it for eBay and PayPal.  What about everyone else?

22.  Mergers and Acquisitions.

23.  In-law Disputes.

24.  Weddings.  Beyond Bride-zilla, every professional and volunteer wedding planner needs to work with a mediator. 

25.  World Peace.  If not us, who?  We cannot leave this to the politicians.

These are some of the places we can go.  Now, it falls upon us, the professional mediators, to usher the populous away from the glory of the Roman amphitheatre and towards the far less sexy process of mediation.  We have to lead the movement that makes violence unacceptable.  Clearly, we have our work cut out for us. 

To be continued…..


Elinor Robin

Elinor Robin, PhD.  has mediated thousands of divorces, workplace disputes, and family conflicts in the courts and the private sector.  In 2007, she incorporated her knowledge of the psychological, cultural, and legal aspects of divorce to create A Friendly Divorce®, a network of mediators who provide one-stop divorce mediation and document preparation services to… MORE >


Susan Dubow

Susan F. Dubow, a pioneer in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution served as the Director of the Court Mediation and Arbitration Program, the ADR Division of the 17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County, for over 22 years. She is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator and Primary Mediation Trainer and… MORE >

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