Mixed Signals

Secretary of State Tillerson revealed recently that the US has various back channels of communication with North Korea, and that we are pursuing negotiations with that country to resolve the dispute over North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons. At the same time, President Trump is threatening all-out war with North Korea, and publicly announced that Tillerson was wasting his timetalking to representatives of that country. Is this a calculated strategy of sending mixed messages to North Korea, or simply an example of dysfunction in the Trump administration?

Taking a Break to Be Introspective in Mediation

Some may have noticed that I have taken a 30 day hiatus from blogging.  I did it intentionally, because I needed to tamp down the noise of every day conflict and listen without adding my voice to the chaos.  I saw that Maria Shriver took a month off from her regular blog in August, and I thought it was time for me to try my hands at stillness for these past 30 days.  

Prevalence of Employment Arbitration is Measured

Two recently released survey reports measure the pervasive use of arbitration to resolve workplace disputes. Alexander J.S. Colvin of the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., has concluded that, “since the early 2000, the share of workers subject to mandatory arbitration has more than doubled and now exceeds 55 percent.”


Market Disruption, Anyone?

Recently I attended a Mediation Summit in Hangzhou, China, and with some other American colleagues I was given a tour of the West Lake District Court in Hangzhou, China.  The lobby had arrows pointing ahead for “lawyer service,” to the left for “court,” and to the right for “mediation and rapid arbitration.”

Ten Duel Commandments

The so-called “ten duel commandments” reveal that the whole ritual of dueling actually incorporates a system based on negotiation. In the song that lays out the commandments of dueling, note that they provide at least three opportunities to back away from going through with the contest.  At the outset, the person challenged can avoid a duel by apologizing

How Litigation Resolves Conflict

As an attorney, I don’t get much satisfaction out of subjecting my own clients to a painful experience just to teach them a lesson. Therefore, for the majority of private disputes, I’d prefer to start off with a less destructive process, like negotiation or mediation. And if we have to litigate, I’d prefer to do so in a way that minimizes the pain for my clients and helps more their case toward resolution, rather than in a way that forces them to settle just to avoid experiencing more of the pain the lawsuit is causing them.

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