Fall 2010-#9. The Challenge and the Promise of Mediation A Valuable Primer.

AuthorReviewed by C/iristopher D. Ekman, Esq.

Vermont Bar Journal


Fall 2010-#9.

The Challenge and the Promise of Mediation A Valuable Primer

THE VERMONT BAR JOURNALVolume 36, No. 3Fall 2010The Challenge and the Promise of Mediation A Valuable PrimerReviewed by C/iristopher D. Ekman, Esq.In commercial mediation, a dispute that centers on money, success requires an effective mediator. A good mediator has experience and the right personality, and it helps if the mediator can anticipate the obstacles and barriers that surface during mediation and can navigate around them. That seems evident enough. It also helps if the lawyers representing the parties know how to manage the structure and flow of information and can borrow some of the mediator's powers. Lawyers who can do so achieve better outcomes for their clients.

For those wishing to learn how to mediate, and for those who want to better represent clients during a mediation, Dwight Golann's Mediating Legal Disputes-Effective Strategies for Neutrals and Advocates provides valuable assistance. Mr. Golann is Professor of Law at Suffolk University where he teaches mediation and negotiation. The author or co-author of six books and numerous articles on conflict resolution, and with substantial litigation and mediation experience, Mr. Golann brings practical and useful suggestions and techniques that will instruct any mediator, from the beginner to the experienced, on the art of mediation. Mr. Go-lann devotes Part I to the novice mediator and Part II, what he calls "the core of this book," to experienced mediators. Moreover, he includes a section for the advocate explaining how lawyers can use the mediator and the structure of mediation to the benefit of the client. All of this is supported by a DVD in which experts demonstrate the techniques described.

Although Golann devotes most of the book to what occurs during the mediation session he does address what can be done in preparation. Before the mediation begins he suggests that the attorneys should expect the mediator to contact both lawyers to discuss the matter. This pre-mediation conference may address mundane matters, such as the time and place for the mediation and who will attend, and weightier questions, such as whether the parties have all the information they need to mediate, what impediments to resolution counsel believe exist, and who has settlement authority (Golann cleverly suggests asking opposing counsel "Who needs to be present from the other party for the process to succeed?").

When considering how the mediation will proceed, Golann advocates flexibility-for him, no one mediation formula rules. Therefore, before the mediation...

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