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Mediation and ADR

Parties in conflict have only a few options in resolving disputes. Alternative Dispute Resolution is liquid in that styles, methods and modalities are constantly evolving. While there are variations for each method, the overall structure breaks down into three categories.

The most common method of resolving a dispute is litigation. While a complaint/petition may be filed, very few cases actually endure the process to an adjudication by the court, most settle prior to completion. And those that are awarded a judgment now face the more difficult task of enforcing the judgment.

Both sides spend a great deal of money, mostly in attorney’s fees. Litigation is very expensive, time-consuming, and court records are a public record, available for public viewing. Friends don’t let friends litigate; however, many feel that vindication – via a court judgment – is the only way to be “made whole.”

Contractual arbitration, as opposed to judicial arbitration, may either be binding or non-binding. While binding is absolute, non-binding often ends in litigation. Arbitrators often “split” the difference and make awards to be more of a compromise rather than an actual decision. Again, the arbitration process is retained as public record.

Mediation is voluntary, confidential and collaborative – the parties, themselves, determine the outcome. Mediation involves a neutral third-party facilitator is trained to assist the parties in bringing resolution in an efficient and cost-effective manner. A good mediator will open the lines of communication and provide a means for candid dialog in a safe and secure environment.

inner2Walking side by side has a pronounced effect on negotiations. Practically speaking, resolving a conflict may prove difficult when walking side by side; however, we can replicate the same environment. Getting too close to someone when facing them violates one’s space. However, when walking side by side, you’re actually closer to each other. And it isn’t uncommon to actually touch shoulders and the contact here is never antagonistic, aggressive nor hostile. Walk Abraham’s Path, and use the Third Side.

Image04The two sides of a conflict are easily identifiable and often overshadow the omnipresent Third Side. A constant problem we all have is the inability to acknowledge, or recognize, the Third Side. It is the Third Side that reminds side one and two to stay on track. And that is – what is really at stake in this dispute – for the sake of resolving the underlying issue. “When angry, you’ll make the best speech you’ll every regret.”

-William Ury, 2010 TEDxMidwest