Friday, December 20, 2013

How Does a Mediator Remain a Beacon of Peace to Conflicting Parties?

      "Tis the season"...to think about peace on earth and good will towards men (and women).  As a professional mediator, I am keenly aware of the conflict that arises between people every day.  I am invited into the lives and struggles of strangers to gently yet effectively intervene with some dosage of humanity, kindness, understanding and empathy.  This I do with equanimity, diplomacy and purpose.  I am asked to draw upon my  20 + years of legal experience and my 10 + years developing skills as a mediator, to assist parties in reaching a satisfactory solution to their suffering in a single day--usually by the transfer of money, and often also based upon an offering of some understanding by a neutral third party as to what lead them into the conflict in the first place.  This is harder than it seems and often results in an exhausted and depleted mediator by day's end.

     What are some strategies that you have developed to keep you from being drawn into the drama that gives rise to the litigation and unfolds throughout a mediation hearing?  How do you balance empathy and understanding with clarity to be a beacon of light forward? Are readers that are lawyers as genuinely passionate about their client's causes as they appear? How do you let it go after the settlement is achieved?

     Next week, I will be taking the week off from blogging and instead spending Christmas aboard our sailboat in the Pacific Ocean (we'll be in the nearby harbors at Long Beach and Newport Beach--enjoying family, lights, and letting go of the stress of the year).  I hope that there I will find some guidance, take a few much-needed days off, and enjoy the peace, light and clarity that I wish for all of you in the coming Year.  Have a wonderful holiday week!