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June 19th 2014, used with permission
Two sisters want the same orange. Only by taking the time to talk do they learn that one wants the juice, while the other wants the rind. That’s mediation.
It’s an alternative to costly, bitter lawsuits. Nina Dodge Abrams wants people to know that mediation works. An attorney based in Royal Oak,Abrams is a driving force behind Michigan Mediates, a campaign to educate the public about the benefits of the mediation process. “Mediation means decision-making assisted — but not decided — by a neutral third party,” Abrams says. “The campaign is important to the public,educators, businesses, attorneys and judges because it works: People listen, pay less, resolve disputes faster, maintain relationships and keep confidences.”Abrams has her own law practice and spends about 90 percent of her time practicing and promoting mediation. She traces the origins of the Michigan Mediates campaign to a Roots of Social Conflict course she took at Wayne State University with her friend Peggy Goodwin. “We were trying to figure out what was going on in the world,” Abrams says. “We talked about the need for mediation and how the general public doesn’t understand it, so we took the idea of a public interest campaign on mediation to the State Bar.” The Alternate Dispute Resolution(ADR) Section of the State Bar of Michigan launched the campaign in June 2011, letting people know that:
- Mediation settles 60 to 80 percent
- of disputes.
- There is a high compliance rate for
- mediated agreements.
- Even when a full settlement is not
- reached, usually the issues are narrowed
- and some aspects resolved.
- 85 percent of mediation participants
- say they would recommend it to
- their friends and family.
However, most people are unaware of the benefits of mediation, which can be used in both litigated and non-litigated matters.
Douglas E. Noll is a lawyer-mediator specializing in difficult, complex and intractable conflicts. His hands-on work in mediation and his many writings focus on peacemaking. In his latest book, “Elusive Peace: How Modern Diplomatic Strategies Could Better Resolve World Conflict,”1 he analyzes many world conflicts from the point of view of a mediator; he explains the mediation techniques he would have applied to the international dispute and why. Noll compares the skills (best practices) of the peacemaker (mediator) to that of the diplomat and politician, believing a mediator’s skills are qualitatively different and better.
In the past 20 years, the scientific and practical knowledge about the causes and the resolution of conflict has grown. In each chapter, Noll applies this information to a known international conflict. Today there are many more tools available to use for resolution. Research has led to understanding the moment-to-moment interactions during negotiations that could and should be applied to international relations...
Are you an attorney or a lay person looking for more information about Mediation? Here are FAQs for Parties & Attorneys Considering Mediation of Family Law Matters.