Archive for March, 2011
This is always a time of year that my creative juices get churning and a time that there’s so much going on beneath the surface. This week is no different. It’s funny that St. Patrick’s Day almost always occurs during Lent, a convergence of one of the most visible expressions of Irish culture and tradition with one of the core disciplinary practices of Christian spirituality.
Being a little bit Irish and a little more Armenian, it’s also a time when my minority vote trumps the majority vote in my internal ethnic co-existence and eating corned beef and cabbage is allowed as an exception to the traditional meat fast during the forty days of Lent. My Irish and my Armenian ethos, both deeply aligned with the underdogs in life, celebrate a minority victory. Both the Irish and the Armenian in me smile; each acknowledging the gift of the other, each eager to share something with the other and both always appreciating the value of a good meal and a good time around the hearth. Read the rest of this entry »
Does the way a dispute gets resolved – either through a negotiated out of court settlement process or through a verdict or finding of a court — impact the level of compliance with the terms of the resolution? Put differently, are people more or less likely to carry out the terms of the final resolution when it is the result of a process like mediation or collaborative law or other non-adversarial processes?
One answer was recently provided in an article by Lorig Charkoudian in the Winter, 2010 issue of the Conflict Resolution Quarterly, addressing the issue of what happens after negotiated settlements. We know from studies, literature and statistics that there is a high rate of successful resolution in mediated cases, just as there is a high rate of satisfaction with the mediation process. But Charkoudian’s articles focuses on the rate of compliance with the terms of a negotiated agreement, compared with court resolved cases.
It’s great that there are now two new shows which focus on mediation as an alternative to the court process. One is Fairly Legal (Thursday at 10 pm EST on USA Network); the other is Harry’s Law (Mondays at 10 pm EST on NBC).
Fairly Legal’s premise is the use of mediation to resolve disputes rather than going to court and fighting through a litigation process. The lead character, Kate Reed, is a lawyer who walked away from the litigation side of the profession to become a mediator.
Episodes I’ve watched have portrayed employment, intellectual property, divorce and criminal cases resolved by the creative intervention of the mediator. At the end of the February 24 episode, Kate gave a presentation to a room full of lawyers on the advantages of mediation over court-based litigation, making the case we have been making - it saves time, saves money, saves relationships, can be more creative in coming up with good solutions and is confidential.
Harry’s Law is a law show with a twist. The lead lawyer, played by Kathy Bates, runs her law practice out of a shoe store. This resonates with me because I can envision combining a dispute resolution practice with a breakfast and lunch restaurant – my ultimate goal.
The February 21 episode was on point for two reasons: It presented two cases, one showing in a compelling way how mediation can be used effectively to resolve a neighborhood gang dispute and the other showing in an equally compelling way how a court-determined verdict fell so short of solving the problem in an employment dispute.