Purposeful Dispute Management- Part 2
At Miles Mediation & Arbitration, we pioneered the concept of Comprehensive Mediation. In one of my previous posts, I discussed the role a quality neutral plays in Comprehensive Mediation; another important component is environment.
Evaluative Mediation is a style of mediation used by many neutrals, and a valuable tool which, when appropriate, is used by Miles neutrals. However, I have determined that successful resolution often depends on things that occur outside the hearing room and outside the control of the neutral. At Miles, we have created an inclusive and welcoming environment that is often essential to resolution.
World-class facilities, delicious food and state-of-the-art technology are vital to creating a hospitable environment, but nothing is more important than professional and compassionate staff. Recently, a significant personal injury case was mediated at our Atlanta office. As often happens, injured parties want family to accompany them to the mediation to provide emotional support. On this occasion, the elderly plaintiff’s husband attended the mediation. As is too often true of men of his generation he held antiquated views on race. He wore a ball cap emblazoned with the Confederate battle flag and made inappropriate comments to Jocelyn, our African American office manager. The mediation lasted until late in the day, and the man grew impatient with the process, encouraging his wife to leave. He eventually stormed out only to return an hour later. When he returned, Jocelyn found him wandering around the office. He was confused and couldn’t recall his wife’s mediation room. Jocelyn put her arm around him and took him to the room. The plaintiffs’ attorney witnessed Jocelyn’s act of kindness and compassion and sought me out after the mediation. He told me that when the husband returned to the room he was a different man, and they were able to get the case resolved. The attorney, knowing how prejudiced the man was, wanted me to know how impressed he was with what Jocelyn had done and added that the case wouldn’t have settled without her actions.
This type of interaction is just one example of the role a welcoming environment plays in helping parties achieve resolution, and it happens every day at Miles.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Miles, Esq. is the CEO of Miles Mediation & Arbitration. In addition to his executive duties, he mediates high value and complex matters on request at a per diem rate. He is in charge of neutral training and development at Miles.