Conference Sessions

Mediation and Technology: Evolution, not Revolution

Friday Plenary
Friday, February 24 9:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Session Description:

Since the introduction of the desktop computer, information and communication technology (ICT) has become an integral part of our social existence and our professional existence. Like many fundamental changes, ICT has affected the practice of mediation, and conflict engagement generally, in an evolutionary way. The plenary presentation and discussion will focus on the impact of that evolutionary process and highlight the significant impact the use of ICT has had on the ethics and standards of practice for mediators. This presentation may also suggest that we, as third parties, should engage in a little creative revolution in the use of ICT.

Ethics credit: .25

Mediating EEO Matters

Concurrent Session 1
Friday, February 24 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Session Description:

The EEOC's Outreach & Ombuds all-star trainer is back by popular demand to provide insight on EEO mediation matters. Starting with an overview of employment laws and hot topics for mediators, Mr. Bontke will use his entertaining style to provide 90 minute workshop that gives attendees educational and practical information on the civil rights protections (Title VI, ADA, ADEA, etc) in the workplace, along with ethical issues. Among the critical matters and concerns addressed: LGBT, Harassment, Accommodations and the new EEOC strategic enforcement plan. Participants will enhance their understanding of EEO issues and learn best practice tips for employment mediations.

Ethics credit: .25

Tricks of Master Negotiators and Problem Solvers: Positioning Yourself for Maximum Negotiating Leverage and Defusing Jerks, Liars, and Saboteurs

Concurrent Session 2
Friday, February 24 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Session Description:

Ms. Abrams will present and share specialized and highly effective tricks of the trade that includes information on the neuroscience of decision-making and understanding the psychological dynamics of negotiating with difficult personalities. She will explore the diagnosis of different personality types and the negotiation strategies to use with each type, including how to diffuse volatile or highly emotional situations. This session will provide practitioners with tricks to expand your tool chest to maximize leverage and get the best deal while incorporating practical and ethical considerations for mediators.

Ethics credit: .25

What’s Trending in Family Law Mediation: Let the Games Begin!

Concurrent Session 3
Friday, February 24 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Session Description:

Family law mediators Mark Sims and Melanie Grimes will offer participants the chance to play a “Jeopardy-like” game to guide conversation around a number of topics involving emerging trends and the presenters’ and participants’ experiences in mediation. Presenters will discuss hot topics such as diversity, “silver” separations, and retroactivity in same-sex divorces, while sharing creative ideas to improve mediations and relevant case law updates for Texas mediators.

Ethics credit: .25

The Unfortunate Demise of the Joint Session and the Preventable Death of Mediation. A Call for Action

Concurrent Session 4
Friday, February 24 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Session Description:

Will mediation as we know it survive its uneasy marriage with the law? Forget the facilitative-evaluative debate! In mediations in California, Minnesota, and New York, joint sessions are no longer held and the true parties never see each other. Is this mediation? What do you do when a lawyer tells you there will be no joint session? Acquiesce? Refuse the case? Attempt to educate? In the current court-annexed mediation marketplace lawyers are aggressively dictating process decisions like bracketing and mediator proposals to mediators. How should a mediator respond? And, ethically, what should a mediator do if a lawyer demands that the mediator have no direct contact with his client? Mr. Galton will discuss these troublesome trends and identify creative strategies to preserve the essence of mediation and restore party participation. The session will also discuss the implications if these trends become viral.

Ethics credit: .5

News from the Dispute Resolution Centers

Panel Presentation
Friday, February 24 1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Session Description:

This panel presentation will provide an overview of how the DRCs of Texas are structured and will explore how their cases and workloads may differ from county to county. Based on the experience of this esteemed panel of Executive
Directors, they will discuss the qualifications they are looking for and how to become more involved. For experienced DRC practitioners, panel members will share their insights on best practices for successful mediations.

Bandaging Wounds: Healing through Mediation

Concurrent Session 5
Friday, February 24 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Session Description:

Mediation can provide a forum through which parties affected by the trauma of a dispute can start the critical process of healing so that they can leave the emotional hurdles and resentment of conflict behind them and focus their outlook positively towards their future. The Aga Khan Conciliation and Arbitration Boards (CABs) of the Shia Ismaili Muslim community aspire to provide holistic dispute resolution services in the interest of preserving and promoting personal and community harmony. The CAB system has been described by Marion Boyd, former Attorney General of Ontario, as “a model of conciliation and arbitration that is the most sophisticated and organized structure in the Muslim community” and an example for other community-based dispute resolution systems. In this interactive session, members of CAB USA will present CAB’s learnings and experiences in developing and implementing its approach to mediation as a tool for healing.

Ethics credit: .25

Mediating EEO Matters

Concurrent Session 6
Friday, February 24 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Session Description:

The EEOC's Outreach & Ombuds all-star trainer is back by popular demand to provide insight on EEO mediation matters. Starting with an overview of employment laws and hot topics for mediators, Mr. Bontke will use his entertaining style to provide 90 minute workshop that gives attendees educational and practical information on the civil rights protections (Title VI, ADA, ADEA, etc) in the workplace, along with ethical issues. Among the critical matters and concerns addressed: LGBT, Harassment, Accommodations and the new EEOC strategic enforcement plan. Participants will enhance their understanding of EEO issues and learn best practice tips for employment mediations.

Ethics credit: .25

Access to Justice in the Digital Age

Concurrent Session 7
Friday, February 24 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Session Description:

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) was first developed to handle unique disputes created online during e-commerce transactions that could only be handled by an online dispute resolution system. Today, perhaps the most rapidly developing area of ODR is that related to the justice system and access to justice. The workshop will address the revolutionary work being done in access to justice, and will particularly address the role of non-lawyer third parties as a key element in improving access to justice.

Ethics credit: .25

Managing High-Conflict People in Family Mediation

Concurrent Session 8
Friday, February 24 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Session Description:

Bill Eddy will provide a step-by-step look at the structure and process of his "New Ways for Mediation" method for managing high-conflict family law clients. In this method, the mediator teaches and reinforces four simple skills for clients to actively engage them in positive problem-solving. This also involves key paradigm shifts in each step of the mediation structure to help the parties to stay away from the past, to ask more questions, to more actively build their agendas, make more proposals and respond constructively rather than digging in their heels.

Ethics credit: .25

Taking the Mediation Message Worldwide: Lessons Learned and Future International Opportunities

Friday, February 24 3:45 PM - 5:15 PM

Session Description:

For mediators and conflict resolution specialists interested in spreading the message of alternative dispute resolution and equipping mediators worldwide, Lori Anne Shaw will facilitate a panel discussion with experienced mediators, professors, and international trainers Joe L. “Joey” Cope, Celestin Musekura, and Walter Wright. The panel will provide information on best practices, common challenges, and opportunities for future projects in the world of international mediation training.

Ethics credit: .25

Tricks of Master Negotiators and Problem Solvers: Positioning Yourself for Maximum Negotiating Leverage and Defusing Jerks, Liars, and Saboteurs

Concurrent Session 1
Friday, February 24 3:45 PM - 5:15 PM

Session Description:

Ms. Abrams will present and share specialized and highly effective tricks of the trade that includes information on the neuroscience of decision-making and understanding the psychological dynamics of negotiating with difficult personalities. She will explore the diagnosis of different personality types and the negotiation strategies to use with each type, including how to diffuse volatile or highly emotional situations. This session will provide practitioners with tricks to expand your tool chest to maximize leverage and get the best deal while incorporating practical and ethical considerations for mediators.

Ethics credit: .25

Managing High-Conflict People in Workplace Mediation

Concurrent Session 1
Friday, February 24 3:45 PM - 5:15 PM

Session Description:

Bill Eddy will present a pre-mediation coaching method for workplace disputes, followed by a presentation of the structure and process of his "New Ways for Mediation" method for managing high-conflict clients in the workplace. In this method, the mediator teaches and reinforces four simple skills for clients to actively engage them in positive problem-solving. This also involves key paradigm shifts in each step of the mediation structure to help the parties to stay away from the past, to ask more questions, to make more proposals, and to respond constructively rather than digging in their heels.

Ethics credit: .25

Mental Health Issues in Mediation

Concurrent Session 9
Friday, February 24 3:45 PM - 5:15 PM

Session Description:

Although mediation has emerged primarily in the legal context, the work of mediation has expanded into many areas of mental health, as well as human resources/business. In fact, those working in the areas of mental health and human resources would seem to require specific skill training in their areas of expertise to mediate effectively, and the differences are critical to maintaining professional integrity in either area. In this session, the differences and similarities will be reviewed briefly, while paying greater attention to a few theories from social psychology (Social Attribution Theory) and its relevance in the practice of mediation. In addition, various personality, mood, and anxiety disorders will be discussed, as well as some guiding ideas for mediators working in that context. The talk will prove fun, challenging, and informative.

Ethics credit: .25

It’s All Your Fault! Ethically Managing High-Conflict People in Mediation

Saturday, February 25 9:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Session Description:

High-conflict clients tend to be blaming, highly defensive, focused on the past and demanding that others solve their problems. It’s easy for mediators to react defensively and sometimes unethically. This presentation will include managing several ethical stumbling blocks with high-conflict clients. It will describe several adaptations to the mediation structure and process to ethically and respectfully shift the parties from focusing on the past to focusing on the future, shifting from making demands to asking questions, and redirecting blaming into making proposals. This client-centered process involves “reverse interest-based negotiations,” which should pique the interest of mediators trained in Getting to Yes.

Ethics credit: 1.5