Dedicate to Collaborate

Reflections from a peacemaking lawyer and mediator dedicated to collaborative problem-solving.
Dec
12

The Most Important (And Often-Overlooked) Tool for Conflict Resolution

The Most Important (And Often-Overlooked) Tool for Conflict Resolution
Isn't it frustrating when someone just won't listen to you? You've begged, reasoned, pleaded and things still aren't getting done the way you want them. You're the only one pulling your weight and you've had enough. So you call on a mediator.  A quick fix? ​ ​ The relief is immediate — finally you'll get things sorted. After months (or years!)...
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Nov
14

Why is everyone talking about mediation?

Why is everyone talking about mediation?
All hail the Internet! Thanks to the power of Google we all have instant access to the kind of legal information that was previously only dished out directly by our attorney. With a few clicks of a button you discover that an expensive lawsuit and a bitter court battle is not the only path to conflict resolution. You quickly learn it's not even the...
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Oct
31

Why it’s so important to get mediation sooner rather than later.

Why it’s so important to get mediation sooner rather than later.
Court battles: people yelling, reputations destroyed, astronomical fees, anger, and bitterness. And when a dispute ends up in the courtroom, no one really "wins". Not even the lawyers. After all, even when a client gets the result they want, it will have come at a huge cost — it's not exactly a process that encourages repeat business. There's no de...
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Oct
17

How to become a master of mediation in 7 simple steps.

How to become a master of mediation in 7 simple steps.
Now, before you light the candles and reach for your yoga pants, I'm talking mediation, not meditation. But you'd be forgiven for the confusion — mediation and meditation do share similarities beyond alphabetic arrangement, chief among them the goal of finding peace and tranquillity. Neither of which are easy to come by in our busy, stressful lives...
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Sep
18

What Do You Really Get Out of Mediation?

What Do You Really Get Out of Mediation?
If you've never been to mediation, you might not be totally sure what you actually get out of the whole process. For instance, is it just someone to scribe your agreements? Is it just a conversation? What do you actually get out of the whole process? There's so much more to mediation –– and many of the "end products" that mediators can provide actu...
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Aug
22

What actually happens in mediation?

What actually happens in mediation?
It's a hazard of the job – people tend to come to me with some very strange ideas of what mediation actually entails. Some people have the idea that it's basically just lawyers doing typical lawyer things, like a kind of court-lite. Others come in with the idea that we're going to just talk and talk until we grind everyone in the room down to a com...
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Aug
08

Six questions to ask yourself to keep a difficult conversation on track

Six questions to ask yourself to keep a difficult conversation on track
"We need to talk." These may be the four most feared words in the English language. Because as we all know from experience, what happens next is usually pretty ugly. You know how it goes: Say you've got a big deadline at work. On Monday, you asked your partner for help cleaning up this week. On Thursday, you come home late and tired to three days w...
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Jul
25

What’s the difference between a disagreement and a conflict and a dispute? (Hint: just knowing this one thing can help you solve some seriously stubborn problems.)

What’s the difference between a disagreement and a conflict and a dispute? (Hint: just knowing this one thing can help you solve some seriously stubborn problems.)
You'd think that when it comes down to it, a fight is a fight is a fight. No matter what you call it, you've still got two sides trying to get their needs met, two people not getting what they want, and one big problem to be solved, right? Actually ... wrong. A disagreement is different from a conflict, which is again different from a dispute – ​ a...
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Jul
11

6 Ground Rules for Resolving Disputes

6 Ground Rules for Resolving Disputes
Imagine for a minute that it's 200 years ago. We have the medical technology to do surgery, and survival rates are OK. But surgery always involves a great deal of violence to the body. A simple thing like removing an inflamed appendix might mean that you have to open up a person's abdomen entirely, rather than making the tiny incision required toda...
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Jun
27

The 3 mindset shifts you need to solve complex conflicts

June-2018-2
Figuring out a solution to a complex conflict is almost never totally straightforward, never mind easy or fun. (After all, it's called dispute resolution for a reason.) But some conflicts are more complicated than others simply because of the factors involved. Situations in which spouses are living in real estate purchased by their soon- to-be-ex's...
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Jun
14

Why Quitting Court was the Best Decision I’ve Ever Made — For Myself and My Clients

Why Quitting Court was the Best Decision I’ve Ever Made — For Myself and My Clients
Imagine that it's 1991. I've just graduated law school, passed the bar, and am tearing up the courtrooms like nobody's business. Divorce cases? Settled. Custody hearings? Taken care of. Business disputes? Done and done. I'd gone into law with an absolute passion for protecting my clients. I'm an advocate right down to my bones — there's nothing I l...
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