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In the IAM Blog, members of the International Academy of Mediators share their wisdom about how mediation can best be used to resolve serious conflicts, including approaches, techniques and perspective. This blog offers insights and thinking from one of the top groups of mediators in the world.

Managing Litigation Risk & Decision-Errors: Mediators Working Inside the Culture of Litigation
By: Jeff Trueman, IAM Distinguished Fellow

More than ten years have passed since Randall Kiser and his colleagues documented how often and at what cost attorneys obtain a result worse than what could have been achieved by accepting their opponents’ pre-trial settlement read more click here

Strategy or Bad Habit? Avoiding Lawyers’ Most Common Mediation Pitfalls
By: Michael E. Dickstein, IAM Distinguished Fellow

You might think lawyers are trying to achieve bad outcomes in mediation, based on approaches like:

1. Insisting on keeping everything confidential from the other side, including not sharing the mediation statement with them.
      Problem: Many lawyers perceive information to be power and believe that keeping information from the other side gives them power. Given that fewer than 5% of cases go to trial, saving powerful information for trial is like paying for asteroid insurance instead of fixing a hole in your roof...t
o read more click here

The Naked Truth about Settling Sexual Harassment Cases in the #MeToo Era: The Public Interest in Disclosure v. the Private Value of Confidentiality
By: Jan Shau, IAM Distinguished Fellow

Times are changing and both employees and employers are taking note: In 2018, sexual harassment is not tolerated. Between the #MeToo movement and the #TimesUp phenomenon, cases involving sexual harassment are being settled in record numbers. Yet there is a tension between settling these claims confidentially and the societal interest in public read more click here

Can Med-Arb Avoid the Risk that Awards Will Be Annulled?
By: Patrick Van Leynseele, IAM Distinguished Fellow

Mediation followed (if needed) by arbitration – so-called Med-Arb – sounds at first like a good idea: parties know that when they start the process they will end up with a solution, either: (i) the one they work out in the scope of the mediation phase, or failing that (ii) the one that will be imposed upon them in the second phase, when the mediator has changed her hat and becomes an arbitrator who issues an award based on legal principles.

The Words We Use as Mediators
By: Alicia Kuin, IAM Fellow & Ben Picker, IAM Distinguished Fellow
Email: &

Words are the smallest elements that generate significant meaning. But to what extent do the words we use as mediators matter? At the recent International Academy of Mediators’ conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, we facilitated a session with an experienced group of mediators and tackled that very question. The focus of the session was whether words matter in a mediation and what words enhance communication, change minds, bring about resolution, and read more click here

Getting Past Impasse with Mediator Settlement Recommendations
By: Mitch Rose,  IAM Fellow

I conduct mediations in the Province of Ontario, Canada, including employment law, commercial matters, personal injury and real estate. The majority of my mediations take place after the commencement of legal proceedings, and involve parties represented by read more click here

The Suffocating Air of Superiority:  Why Mediators Across the Practice Spectrum Should Practice What They Preach – Listen More and Judge Less
By: Jeff Trueman, IAM Distinguished Fellow & Penni Walker Doyle

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Mediation trainings and conferences present opportunities for practitioners and program managers to be exposed to new ideas and learn new techniques – at least in theory. At a recent conference, after a presentation about caucusing led by an attorney-mediator, a question was asked. Instead of responding to the merits of the question, the presenter asked, “Are you an attorney?” The teacher-panelist appeared to have read more click here

Civility and the Mediation Process
By: Mark LeHocky, Judicate West

Civility is more critical to the mediation process than to any other form of dispute resolution. The reasons are several: First, unlike trial and arbitration, success in mediation depends entirely upon adversaries agreeing. No agreement; no deal. To no surprise, civility helps draw people toward a consensus, while incivility has the opposite read more click here

Mediator as Ombuds
By: Chuck Doran, IAM Distinguished Fellow

Posted: January 3, 2018

The word “ombudsman” comes from a Swedish term that dates back to 1809, when the Swedish parliament decided to protect citizens’ rights by establishing a supervisory agency independent of the government. Dictionaries differ, but many read more click here

Knowing our Neighbours – a Mediator’s Reflection
By: John Sturrock, IAM Distinguished Fellow
Posted: December 8, 2017

A few months ago, I spent a couple of days in and around Dublin, discussing an initiative on respectful political dialogue with politicians, academics and conflict read more click here

Preparing Your Advocate for Mediation
By: Jerry Palmer, IAM Distinguished Fellow
Posted: November 9, 2017

Clients who are new to mediation may think it is not important, or is rude, to try to tell their own advocates what they expect them to do to prepare for mediation. It is, after all, the lawyer’s responsibility to do their job and to do it well. However, lawyers don’t always have the perspective to fully understand read more click here

How to Deal with Yawning Gaps in Bargaining Positions
By: Professor Dwight Golann, IAM Scholar in Residence
Too often in mediation lawyers confront a familiar dilemma: Both sides have made offers and then offered concessions – but a huge gap remains between them. Everyone is frustrated, and no one wants to make a serious move in read more click here

Seven Questions to Engage the Politically Polarized
By: Doug Noll, IAM Distinguished Fellow

What do you do if you are in a conversation – which may include a mediation – with someone who is adamant and strident about his or her values and beliefs? In today's polarized society, this is more likely to happen than ever read more click here

What “The Blind Men and the Elephant” Can Teach Us About Mediation
By: Sheldon J. Stark, IAM Distinguished Fellow

Frequently, disputes arise out of the different perspectives of the parties. Parties may observe the same facts but their perceptions of what happened and why may turn on where they stood, what role they were playing or what they were thinking at the time of the occurrence or event in read more click here

How to Listen Like a Mediator
By: Chuck Doran, IAM Distinguished Fellow

Mediators are masters of listening. Conflict has a habit of turning conversations into competitions, with each statement feeling like a serve that you have to return in order to win a point. Mediators transform the purpose of these conversations from “winning” into understanding one another and working towards read more click here

Resolving Sports Disputes by Mediation
By: Paul Godin

Conflicts in high-performance sports (HPS) – those involving athletes competing at the national, international or professional levels – are typically tense and emotionally charged experiences for the athletes, coaches, and sports organizations read more click here




Mediation v. Court Truth
By:  Bennett G. Picker, IAM Distinguished Fellow

Experienced mediators know that the resolution of disputes involves the people and the problem as much as the positions.  At the same time, most parties will use as a benchmark for settlement decisions the expected results at trial should a dispute not be amicably read more click here


Reflections on a Mediation: Blood, Sweat & Tears
By:  Floyd Siegal,
IAM Distinguished Fellow

A closing workshop at an International Academy of Mediators conference was titled Transformative Moments in Mediation. Colleagues shared “war stories,” reminding all of us that every mediation involves real people whose lives have been impacted in a variety of ways by the events which spawned their conflict, and that every mediation could provide the opportunity to experience a transformative read more click here

Some Honest Talk About "Lying" At Mediation: An Open Letter
By: Jeff Jury, IAM Distinguished Fellow

Dear Mediation Attendee/Counsel/Client:

I look forward to welcoming you at our upcoming mediation session.  As your mediator, it is my responsibility to remain as neutral as can be, conduct the process in a manner that is fair to everyone, and to help the parties talk and think about this dispute, hopefully concluding with a read  more click here

Mediation Kindness in 2017?
By: John Sturrock, IAM Distinguished Fellow

I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things . . . their lives frequently embody a truth expressed by Mother Teresa, . . . [who] once said: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”. . .to read more click here

The Pros and Cons of a Very Public Settlement
By: Jan Schau, IAM Distinguished Fellow 
For the past fifteen years, I have been a strong advocate for mediation. Through some mix of optimism and arrogance, I have maintained the belief that all conflict can and should be resolved through a skillfully-managed mediation read more
click here

Reframing the Mediation Lexicon
By: Eric R. Galton, IAM Distinguished Fellow (with a great deal of help from friends)
See full article at

Words matter. So in basic mediation training we teach neutral words and reframing. But is our mediation lexicon stale and itself in need of reframing? As I pursued this question, I spoke with world class mediators, some of whom are mentioned read more click here

Why I Decided to Write Agreed!, the 10,000th Book about Negotiation and Mediation
By: Thierry Garby, IAM Distinguished Fellow

I wrote Agreed! for exactly the same reason Einstein wrote his theory of relativity: there was something that did not work in Newton’s theory. There are lots of ideas which, in my view, do not work in what we are usually taught about negotiation and read more click Here




Please note that each IAM Blog posting represents the view of its individual author, but not necessarily others associated with IAM. IAM Blog Editor Keith L. Seat may be contacted at