Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Mediation Attorney

The Role of Civil Litigation Attorneys

What do mediation attorneys do? Almost everyone has been a mediator. It’s true. If you have stepped into a dispute that had nothing to do with you and tried to help friends, family members, neighbors, or coworkers to resolve their differences, you have been a mediator. The custom of using a respected elder to help …

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BATNA & WATNA: Finding and Using Negotiation Power (Part I of III)

The goal of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process is to come to a resolution together so that the parties can both agree on and avoid the eventual litigation that could arise in the dispute. However, not every mediation or negotiation ends in a settlement agreement, and the knowledge that the parties may walk away without …

Read moreBATNA & WATNA: Finding and Using Negotiation Power (Part I of III)

Anger Masks Emotions in Mediation

Famed psychologist Paul Ekman calls anger one of the six basic emotions. He notes that its expression is universal across cultures. Even as infants, we instinctively recognize and react to its presence in those around us. According to Ekman, anger originates when an important goal is frustrated, or someone tries to hurt us or someone we feel responsible for, physically or psychologically. Under this definition, anger is a response to threatening external stimuli, which is often accompanied by a desire to hurt the source of the anger producing events.

The Power of Finding and Using a BATNA & WATNA (Part 3 of 3)

…Continued from Part 2: In previous articles, we’ve discussed what a BATNA and a WATNA are, the purpose of identifying a BATNA and WATNA, some possible alternatives to consider, and two analyses that parties can use to identify their BATNA and WATNA.  This article will discuss the strategies that a mediator may use to help …

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The Power of Finding and Using a BATNA & WATNA (Part 2 of 3)

…Continued from Part 1: Back to discovering and using what the negotiation world calls a BATNA and WATNA, this article will continue to move through an analysis to help the parties discover the alternatives that will drive how they negotiate and settle a dispute.  The previous article discussed the importance of moving through a BATNA/WATNA …

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Identifying a Power Imbalance (Part 2 of 2)

In the first of this pair of articles, we discussed the definition of a power imbalance, identified the types of power that may be utilized against another party, and the early signs of a power imbalance. Once a neutral identifies that one of the parties has more power than the other and is using their power to make the negotiations end in their favor, it is important for the neutral to act quickly to attempt to bring the power in the negotiations into balance between the parties.

Left Brain vs Right Brain Conflict Resolution

Our brains are mostly divided into two hemispheres. They each have their own way of responding to conflicts, although there is some overlap. Our brains are really a combination of parts that serve different purposes. They take turns in dominating our thinking at times and generally work together – just as we have many muscles in our arms that work together rather than just one muscle.

De-escalating Encounters with Confrontational People

If you are a conflict resolution professional, you are very likely to meet with angry, confrontational, and aggressive people on an almost daily basis. You may even be called in specifically to deal with them, if you are an HR professional or an ombuds. It’s almost inevitable. People in conflict are almost always emotional. Even business disputes aren’t “just business.” Our emotions affect every decision we make.

Identifying a Power Imbalance (Part 1 of 2)

One of the most noticeable issues that could arise in a negotiation or mediation is an imbalance of power. Often one of the hardest issues to overcome if the neutral or the parties are not prepared, and still difficult when the neutral is prepared, an imbalance can easily throw an otherwise successful dispute resolution process.

Game Theory, Negotiation, and the “Black Box”

James F. Ring and some colleagues gave a fascinating talk at the recent ABA Dispute Resolution Section on Game Theory; Where it started was cutting a cake; Where it ended was cutting out the lawyers, at least by implication.

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