Conflict Resolution

Advanced Problem-Solving Strategies

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Now that another one of those trials of the century that Los Angeles seems to enjoy about once a decade has concluded (I’m talking about the McCourt divorce trial of course), everyone wants to know who won.  Technically, since the judge has not ruled yet, and still has 90 days to issue a decision, there is no winner yet.  But the real answer is that neither side won, or perhaps that it doesn’t really matter all that much which side prevails on the legal issue before the court: that issue being the meaning and enforceability of a document purporting to grant Frank McCourt sole ownership of the Dodgers. How can I be so cynical as to suggest that it doesn’t […]

Following up on a similar post on my political blog, I thought it might be appropriate, after doing this mediation site for about a year-and-a-half, to recognize some of my fellow mediation bloggers.  One reason I started this site was because there didn’t seem to be all that many blogs on mediation, so I thought I might be able to contribute to the discussion.  Since I started, some have dropped out, and new sites have cropped up.  Here is a list of some sites that have mostly been around longer than I have, and that I tend to turn to most often. 1. Settle it Now is a champion mediation blog in terms of sheer productivity.  Victoria Pynchon’s posts are […]

The Los Angeles County Superior Court has developed a large mediation program that relies heavily on the provision of pro bono mediation services.  Litigants have the choice of the pro bono panel, which allows them three hours of free mediation services, after which the mediator may charge for his or her time; or the party pay panel, which offers three hours at a reduced rate.  The difference is that pro bono mediators are randomly assigned, while parties may choose their mediator from the pay panel.  Pay panel mediators also tend to be more experienced, but parties are sometimes lucky enough to get assigned to an experienced mediator from the pro bono panel.  From the point of view of mediators, the […]

I did some posts this week on my political blog, trying to understand why voters seem so angry this campaign season.  After trotting out some of the usual suspects like our dysfunctional government, and the economy, I turned to the touchier subjects of intolerance, racism and xenophobia.  We certainly have a lot of problems to deal with in our country right now, but my mind keeps returning to the question of why we need to react to those problems with anger and recrimination.  Didn’t we, less than two years ago, embrace the promise represented by the Obama campaign, of trying to approach our problems with a spirit of cooperativeness and inclusiveness?   A majority of the country actually elected a […]

An article in the Harvard Negotiation Program newsletter (summarized here) reflects a common view that mediation and arbitration need to be “sold” more as an alternative to litigation.  In this view, it is seen as a problem that parties to business contracts often do not anticipate the likelihood of conflicts arising in the course of their relationship, and therefore fail to include as often as perhaps they should, clauses providing for alternative dispute resolution in the event of problems.  Because parties fail to anticipate the potential need for ADR, litigation becomes the default alternative when a conflict occurs. This way of looking at a problem–here the problem of choosing a method of resolving disputes–itself reflects a view of the world […]