Introduction A funny thing happened on April 1, 2020. After over 30 years and 7,500 cases as an in person, high-touch mediator, I grudgingly became, out of necessity born by COVID-19, a virtual, online mediator. The first month was admittedly a very rocky one for me. I worried about my ability to handle the very easy technology and that I might accidentally bump the participants off the platform. I also hated to see myself on the screen. Initially, I felt, albeit incorrectly, that this made me the center of attention – something I have always felt is the opposite of the mediator’s role. Today, overRead More →

A common question at my initial free consultation with clients is, “Will I need to have a lawyer?” or, “Am I going to have to hire a lawyer?” Clients often have a look of surprise on their face when I tell them “ You are not required to consult with an attorney but I strongly encourage it.” You may wonder whether they are surprised at the fact that they are not required to consult with an attorney or at my strongly encouraging them to do so. The answer is both. Before we explore the issue of the role of lawyers in mediation, we need toRead More →

What Is E-Mediation? The internet has become an indispensable business resource as more companies rely on online tools. As more businesses shift towards digital environments, it may be time for mediators to do the same. Online mediation, or e-mediation, could help you meet clients’ changing needs in an increasingly digital workplace. E-mediation isn’t a new concept, but recent events do put new emphasis on it. Thanks to COVID-19, many companies have shifted to a work-from-home approach, moving much of their work online. As you’re undoubtedly aware, just because people aren’t in the same physical space doesn’t mean workplace conflict is gone. Under the stresses ofRead More →

A group of mediators has established a non-affiliated website to promote a pledge by mediators to do all they can to ensure that their mediation practices are as carbon-neutral as possible. The World Mediators Alliance on Climate Change (WOMACC) Green Pledge can be adopted by any individual mediator. They are also asking prominent mediation bodies to support and promote the Pledge and encourage their members to sign up to it. The Pledge can be found here. The website at that link presents the pledge for individual mediators to consider signing, though they are looking for organizational supporters and sponsors as well. They’ve also asked forRead More →

Despite the fact that video conferencing is a very small part of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and how best to mediate online, Fat Larry’s 1980s hit seems to have been taken to heart by mediators who, anxious not to delay mediations due to the Covid-19 lockdown, have, after “just one look” fallen rapidly in love with the Zoom video conferencing platform. Just as falling in love on first looks can often deceive, there are security issues with Zoom that may compromise the mediator’s professional duties of confidentiality and his or her privacy policy. A very detailed independent examination of the platform by a technology researchRead More →

“I see contemporary patterns of disputing as an adaptive (but not necessarily optimal) response to a set of changing conditions. There have been great changes in the social production of injuries as a result of, among other things, the increased power and range of injury-producing machinery and substances. There has been a great increase in social knowledge about the causation of injuries and of technologies for preventing them; there has been a wide dissemination of awareness of this knowledge to an increasingly educated public.” Marc Galanter, “Reading the Landscape of Disputes: What we know and don’t know (and think we know) about our allegedly contentiousRead More →

We already have the means to solve the Covid-19 legal logjam Georgia’s legal community faces a situation described by the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court as “unprecedented in the history of the state.” In response to Covid-19, Chief Justice Harold Melton issued a Judicial Emergency that shut down most of the court system on March 14th—a decision he has re-instituted in some form every 30 days for the past five months. If current trends continue, with Georgia just last week reporting the highest rate of new Covid-19 cases in the country, it is highly likely that Chief Justice Melton will have to extend theRead More →