Latest issue of The Complete Lawyer – and the ADR column "Human Factor" – now available

The Complete LawyerThe latest issue of The Complete Lawyer, an online journal focusing on quality of life and career satisfaction for attorneys, is now available — and along with it, its special ADR column, “The Human Factor“. This issue of The Complete Lawyer asks, “What’s your exit strategy?” and looks at how best to plan financially and emotionally for retirement.

The Human Factor“ focuses on ADR from the perspective of four attorneys who mediate – me and my three extraordinary colleagues, Stephanie West Allen of Idealawg and Brains on Purpose, Gini Nelson of Engaging Conflicts, and Victoria Pynchon of Settle It Now Negotiation Blog.

This time in “The Human Factor” the four of us discuss “What we have learned from mediation and negotiation that can have very broad application in your life and work“.

The Complete Lawyer is published by Don Hutcheson, to whom the four of us owe a debt of gratitude for allowing us a forum for our ideas. Thanks, Don.

2 responses to “Latest issue of The Complete Lawyer – and the ADR column "Human Factor" – now available

  1. Lawyers should not be mediators, and mediators should not be lawyers. No matter how much a person may try to be professionally detached from their original legal training, humans just don’t have the capability to be completely indifferent from something they have worked so hard to achieve.

    Attorneys can, however, greatly assist the mediators in drafting realistic, meaningful, and legal agreements that arise from mediation. Legal review of all mediated agreements is important so that the parties involved do not agree to an illegal course of action. Lawyers and mediators fit hand-in-hand, but no one should attempt to be both.

  2. Kurt, I’m wondering if I’ve misunderstood your meaning.

    It sounds as if you’re suggesting that lawyers should never mediate. If that’s your view, then I disagree. No one should be automatically disqualified from serving as a mediator solely because of their profession of origin. I know many attorneys who mediate and who do so competently and effectively. (I like to think I’m one of them.)

    I disagree with your assertion that attorneys are not capable of detaching themselves “from their original legal training”, if by that you mean that lawyers are unable to shift from an advocacy, rights-based framework to a facilitative, interest-based one. There are numerous attorneys in fact who were early pioneers and champions of mediation (think of Frank Sander, the father of the multi-door courthouse and a proponent of mediation) or who have worked hard to advance the mediation field and have contributed in significant ways to improving the practice of mediation. Len Riskin and David Hoffman are but two shining examples and there are others too numerous to list here. I’m frankly puzzled as to why you believe this and am curious to know what facts you rely upon to support your conclusion.

    If however you meant to say that attorneys who mediate need to take care not to confuse their roles at the mediation table, then that’s a different concern. Attorneys who mediate — like those who wear other professional hats — obviously need to define their role clearly when they’re mediating so that disputants understand clearly the role the mediator plays. But that’s no different for the therapist who mediates or the financial planner who mediates. Obviously an attorney who is mediating should not be providing legal services at the mediation table. The same would be true for the therapist or the financial planner — they too must focus on providing mediation services and not therapy in the case of the former or financial advice in the case of the latter.

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