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DEATH OF A MEDIATOR (inspired by actual and true events)

I come to you with a heavy heart. I am gravely saddened for our community of professional neutrals because we have lost yet another dedicated certified mediator. Although Albert D. Results, Esq. (“A.D.R”), principal of the 15 year old firm, Sensible Mediation, Inc. is very much alive, he has shut down his Sensible Mediation, Inc. forever, after a 24-month battle against declining revenues.  The closing of Sensible Mediation, Inc. not only effects its principle, who has decided not to recertify and leave Florida, but also its 4 person staff, who are now out of work.

A.D.R  was a well-established litigator (over 25 years) who decided to leave the practice of law and answer, what became the feeling of a higher calling, being a certified mediator.  It was not solely a profession, a side business, or just another way to supplement income like most attorneys turned mediator. It became a way to impact those who participated in the process of mediation who seeking legal justice.  He dedicated himself to conflict resolution and practicing “mindfulness” when mediating.

The circumstances that lead to the death of Sensible Mediation, Inc. is not shocking, just sad and disturbing to know that many dedicated mediators are at risk to the same fate.  Some can speculate that it was today’s unstable economy or the inability to adapt to the millennial business climate.  No. being more aware than that, A.D.R knew it was cronyism and unethical local mediator practices that Sensible Mediation, Inc. refused to bend to.  The large firm cronyism is keeping only certain mediators busy due to personal relationships, while large insurance companies will only select mediators they know serve their interest by conducting mediation how they want.  So, remaining true to its ethics, maintaining principles of mediation and practicing more mindfulness cost Sensible Mediation, Inc. its life.

So farewell Sensible Mediation, Inc. and its principle. You fought the good fight and maintain true to what the promise of mediation is. And although your certified mediator life has come to its end, carry on and good luck with your other endeavors.

 

This is based on real events. The names have been changed to keep the privacy of the principle and those involved.

A.D.R. has given me permission to write this piece and have asked advocates of ADR and mediators who have taken the time to read this, to stand firm and maintain the dignity of the profession by not letting “Large Firm X” or “BIG Company” control how the profession evolves and how mediation is conducted.

 

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I AM Just Asking. Are Mediators/ADR Professionals Uncomfortable with Conflict Outside Their Conference Room?

In Brief: Where are my fellow Mediators/ADR Professionals? I expected to see/hear more from my colleagues hoping to uplift their communities as our country suffers from a deteriorated Law Enforcement & comUncomfortabl picmunity trust, ignorance, hate and violence. Why is it that when I ask established colleagues for their insight on addressing the current turmoil found with Law Enforcement-Community divides they give me the “I’m uncomfortable look”, they start to blink a lot and avoid eye contact, or they mumble “…they’re not my clients…” WOW!? I just shake my head and say “We don’t have clients. We service individuals, businesses, communities in varying stages of conflict and we help these participants through these difficult issues…”.

It is increasingly clear when the world is being turned upside down and communities are at odds, Mediators/ADR professionals should feel the duty to actively step-in and step-up by offering their conflict resolution skills and to assist with brainstorming solutions and peacebuilding. Are we not the Bridge-Builders of dialogue? Instigators of open honest/transparent communication? Encouragers of respectful cross-cultural, racial and religious background acceptance? Why are so many of my colleagues not comfortable with conflict outside of their conference room walls. I sometimes don’t get it. But then again, I guess for many, this is just a profession and not a calling.

For those who see themselves going beyond the conference room, being uncomfortable while creating an impact, and working on sustainable solutions, I would love to hear from you szamor@i-mediateconsulting.com

Ethical/Moral Obligations of a Mediator: The Issue Regarding the Disbarred Attorney Participant…

So, our issues begins…. A Mediation was scheduled regarding a Circuit Civil matter. All of the noticed parties were present, the mediator, Plaintiff’s Counsel (“PC”),a Plaintiff’s corporate representative (“PR”) with “full authority” to settle, and the Defendant. Before commencing the mediation, the Defendant stated that they recently retained counsel, who will be filing notice of appearance with the Court, so she would like to wait for them to participate in mediation as they are on their way. The mediation conference was scheduled to start promptly at 1:30 pm. The PC and PR stated that they did not mind, so it was decided to wait for the Defendant’s Attorney (“DA”). After 20 minutes, the(“DA”) still did not arrive, but called twice saying they were delayed during the lunch-time traffic. In the effort to move the mediation forward, all the parties agreed to proceed with the DAparticipating via telephone, until he arrived physically. When the DA eventually arrived, now 45 minutes late, he was updated as to the mediations progress. Throughout the mediation process, the DA was uncooperative, disruptive at times, and constantly stated his position not to concede to anything and to leave the mediation. Although the process was contentious, the case was settled, drafted, and signed by the parties and their counsels. After the mediation ended,it was observed that the DA was overly friendly with one of the paralegals and support staffemployees within the office assisting with copies. So, after everyone left, the mediator asked the paralegal if she knew the DA involved in the mediation. The paralegal timidly nodded, smiled and suggested that the mediator conduct a name search on the Bar’s website. The search revealed that the DA had been recently disbarred. Here are just a few of the many issues/questions that we as Mediators must consider.

 

  1. Is the mediation settlement agreement valid?
  2. Given this circumstance should the mediator obligated to ensure a Notice of Appearance was appropriately filed? What about a mediation participant’s right to self-determination?
  3. Does the mediator have an obligation to inform the Defendant that their attorney, who was not helpful during the process, has been disbarred?