Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Justice not blind but blonde at this week's Blawg Review

Blawg Review #61 hosted by Blonde JusticeAnyone who cares deeply about the law, justice, and civil liberties should definitely check out Blawg Review #61, a collaborative effort by three smart, savvy defense attorneys–Not Guilty, Woman of the Law, and Blonde Justice, where this week’s edition of Blawg Review, the weekly review of the best in law blogging, is hosted.

Featured posts include plenty of stuff that mediators (or just about anybody) will find interesting or useful. Some examples:

Stop by Blawg Review to see a list of past and upcoming hosts and for submission guidelines.

"This I Believe": national radio project promotes listening and understanding

NPR radio program promotes respect and mutual understanding of differing beliefsDuring the 1950’s, American radio legend and journalist Edward R. Murrow hosted “This I Believe“, a radio program which invited people, ordinary and extraordinary, to share with listeners their core beliefs and values through short essays. Murrow’s hope was “to point to the common meeting grounds of beliefs, which is the essence of brotherhood and the floor of our civilization.”

National Public Radio here in the U.S. has revived Murrow’s program.

Series host Jay Allison describes the purpose behind this new series:

“As in the 1950s, this is a time when belief is dividing the nation and the world. We are not listening well, not understanding each other — we are simply disagreeing, or worse. Working in broadcast communication, there’s a responsibility to change that, to cross borders, to encourage some empathy. That possibility is what inspires me about this series.”

The goal isn’t to gain consensus or agreement about these beliefs; rather it is “to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”

Earlier this week “This I Believe” aired a moving essay read out loud by its author University of Arkansas law professor Michael Mullane.

In what does Mullane believe? That fundamental cornerstone of civil society, the rule of law. You can read his essay here.

Mind mapping offers a brainstorming tool to chart the creative process

Try mind mapping to assist the creative processThose of you who enjoy creativity tools, particularly those that facilitate brainstorming, may enjoy mind mapping, a means of organizing and lending structure to ideas. Mind mapping utilizes diagrams composed of images and words to connect, prioritize, build on, and analyze the ideas, inspirations and thoughts that the creative process yields.

To experiment with mind mapping yourself, you can download for free an open source program called FreeMind, available at SourceForge.net.

And, since a picture is worth a thousand words, try this step-by-step illustration of a mind mapping process unfolding.

California court rejects concept of "binding mediation"

No such animal as binding mediation says a California appeals courtJ. Craig Williams over at May It Please the Court discusses the details of a recent California state appellate court decision which rejected the concept of “binding mediation” in a stipulation for settlement between two parties. Williams sets forth the differences between arbitration and mediation as a prelude for the discussion of the court opinion which follows.

Read Craig’s article first, then see the court opinion (in PDF).

The court sensibly asks,

If binding mediation is to be recognized, what rules apply? The arbitration rules, the court-ordered mediation rules, the mediation confidentiality rules, or some mix? If only some rules, how is one to chose? Should the trial court take evidence on the parties’ intent or understanding in each case? A case-by-case determination that authorizes a “create your own alternate dispute resolution” regime would impose a significant burden on appellate courts to create a body of law on what can and cannot be done, injecting more complexity and litigation into a process aimed at less.

Thanks for this link goes to this week’s edition of Blawg Review, the weekly review of the best in law blogging, hosted by the fearsome Professor Kingsfield.

Mediation Quote of the Week | June 5, 2006

I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight.

~ Samuel Johnson

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In a galaxy far, far away: Conference and course planned on extraterrestrial diplomacy

Beam me up Scotty: Course on extraterrestrial diplomacy begins todayLast summer I directed mediators seeking variety in their ho-hum routines to a course on Exopolitics 102: Citizen Diplomacy with Extraterrestrials, available through Exopolitics.org, a web site devoted to exploring “the political implications of the extraterrestrial presence”. (I swear I am not making this up.)

I was therefore vastly amused to learn through the dispute-res listserv (for subscription information, click here) that the instructor of this course, Dr. Michael Salla, has even bigger plans: a conference of international experts to discuss intergalactic diplomacy with extraterrestrial civilizations and its implications for world peace. You can read all about it here.

(By the way, for those of you who didn’t make the application deadline for last year’s course, Dr. Salla is offering “Exopolitics 102″ again. Class starts today.)

ADR Diversity Blog a welcome new voice in the alternative dispute resolution blogging community

ADR Diversity Blog adds a new voice to the online conversationWhen I began blogging in January 2005 (practically the equivalent of a century in cyberspace), only three other regularly published alternative dispute resolution blogs existed (Perry Itkin’s Florida Mediator, Bill Warter’s Campus ADR Tech Tools, and the odr.info blog).

Although the ADR field hasn’t experienced the boom of blogging that the legal profession has enjoyed, the population of ADR bloggers is slowly but steadily increasing, as my ongoing web-based project, the Directory of Alternative Dispute Resolution Blogs, will attest.

It’s therefore always exciting when I get to announce the discovery of a new alternative dispute resolution blog. Regina Mullen, a Michigan-based attorney-mediator, has launched the ADR Diversity Blog, together with an ambitious online venture, ADR Diversity. Under construction at this time, the ADR Diversity site aims to bring together a multitude of voices and viewpoints across the spectrum of ADR practice.

Please join me in welcoming Regina to the ADR blogosphere and wishing her success in this project.

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Florida Supreme Court adopts changes to rules for certified mediators

Changes to Florida rules for certification of court-approved mediatorsMy friend, Florida Mediator Perry Itkin, was kind enough to alert me to his recent post about important changes to the rules in Florida governing the certification of mediators providing services through the Florida court system.

The Florida Supreme Court last week adopted proposed amendments to Florida’s Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators. These amendments, which go into effect on August 1, replace the current mediator certification requirements with a new certification requirements “point system”.

All mediators seeking certification must meet the requirements of “good moral character” and the minimum age of 21 and then must obtain a total of 100 points in the areas of mediation training, education and mediation experience, mentorship, and miscellaneous activities, as outlined for each category of mediator.

According to the Florida Supreme Court’s opinion (in PDF), “the practical effect of this new point system is to remove the more formal mandatory education and profession-based requirements, for example, the current requirement for a family mediator of a masters, doctorate, medical, or law degree, or certified public accountant license, and to allow applicants to obtain certification in a variety of different ways more directly related to the actual skills and experience the Committee has determined to be necessary for service as an effective mediator.”

The Court, however, will unfortunately (in my own view) continue to require that certified circuit court mediators be members of the Florida Bar or a retired trial judge from any U.S. jurisdiction, unless input from the Florida Bar at some future point suggests otherwise.

Let us hope that Florida gives this final issue the serious reflection it deserves, with input from not only the Bar but from other members of the ADR community; after all, many of us believe strongly that mediators bring the greatest value not so much through subject matter expertise but rather through their skill and experience as process experts. And no profession has a monopoly on the ability to provide that.

(If this is your first visit to this blog, please click here for further information on mediator certification and credentialing.)

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Mediation 2.0: Hacking conflict in the 21st century

Hacking conflict in the 21st century“Hacking” is a word tainted by controversy. While it often evokes images of teenaged malcontents exploiting security vulnerabilities in computer networks, it possesses other more affirmative meanings.

Hacking also means “the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations“. It stands for an ingenious way of solving intractable problems or providing new functionality to an object different from its intended purpose.

Anything can be hacked. Software applications and Department of Defense databases–that goes without saying. But also video games, consumer goods, religion, and, well, life.

And, would you believe, even urban and industrial landscapes. Consider parkour, an urban sport that combines physical and intellectual agility. In parkour, the only direction is forward as participants creatively maneuver and strategize their way past obstacles in their physical environment. It’s as much about quick reflexes as it is about quick thinking. Participants in a sense must grasp the solution at the moment they perceive the challenge. It’s about reframing the material world by transforming barriers into passageways.

Fortunately mediation doesn’t require physical strength (or we’d all be in big trouble). But it does depend upon the skill of the mediator to help disputants limber up brain cells and keep minds open to possibility and potential.

Mediators, who mediate between the past and the present, experience and hope, uncertainty and optimism, can draw inspiration from metaphors like these.

Although conflict and impasse are age-old, we can use the language of today to revolutionize the way we think about our practice as mediators to see our craft in a new light. We aid disputants in hacking the narratives of their own conflicts. We push them to alter the code of the past to pareto optimize their way beyond the limits of their own ingenuity. And we can use technology to revolutionize the resolution of disputes and to transform dialogue itself.

Welcome to Mediation 2.0.

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USC students develop virtual game to bring real-world attention to the crisis in Darfur

Students create online game to promote social activism and end violence in DarfurThe horrors of war and genocide are virtually unimaginable to those of us who live far from the front lines and fault lines of violence and conflict.

To bring the tragedy of real-world genocide to the attention of the world and to encourage activism to stop the crisis in Darfur, a group of University Southern California students have created Darfur Is Dying, a project sponsored by mtvU and by the Reebok Human Rights Foundation.

This extraordinary online simulation has been designed to raise the consciousness of players about the realities of human suffering and the tragic consequences of violent conflict. Players are encouraged to spread the game virally by emailing it to their friends to encourage them to experience it for themselves.

For an online audio interview with the game’s creator, which aired yesterday on NPR, click here.

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