ADR Education on Display in Seattle

Richard B. Lord, a shareholder with Upchurch Watson White & Max, is a fellow of the American College of Civil Trial Mediators and co-Chair of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section’s Mediation Commitee . To schedule a mediation with Richard, please visit our online scheduling page or call his case manager, Cathy McCleary, at 800-863-1462.

Shareholder Richard Lord Florida Mediator Richard Lord

Wednesday night (April 16, 2015), four teams of law students were given fact patterns in preparation for the semifinal rounds of the 2015 National Representation in Mediation Competition. Each team, consisting of two students, developed a presentation plan and competed through a seventy-five minute mock mediation today at the 17th Annual Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference in Seattle.

For the second year in a row, I had the good fortune to serve as a judge in the semifinals. What struck me was how well prepared these students are to serve as skilled and knowledgeable advocates in the mediation process. Not only did they demonstrate an appreciation for effective mediation advocacy, but also they did so in a way that would make it difficult to distinguish them from already practicing, albeit young, lawyers. Kudos to both teams I judged. As for who won, that will be revealed tomorrow.

Education was also on center stage, though in a slightly different manner, in an engaging session on cross-border dispute resolution in emerging economies. Experts in the field spoke of the increasing recognition that arbitration and mediation are gaining favor globally, though in some countries a lack of capacity to conduct ADR proceedings remains. In addition, businesses seeking predictable and in-budget processes prefer ADR, but sometimes find they have to educate their own managerial ranks and outside counsel on its benefits. Believe it or not, some still believe that a proposal to pursue mediation is a sign of weakness. To me, the paradigm should shift to an offer of mediation being seen as a sign of confidence.

Education. It is at the core of expanding the use of cost-effective and appropriate ADR methods. It is also essential to prepare advocates and their clients to effectively engage in the selected process.

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