Attorneys, by virtue of the role they play, are often at the frontlines of conflict. While the adversarial process entails certain legal benefits and protections, one of its drawbacks is an environment that often leaves one party on the “losing side” of the equation and unhappy with the outcome.
The American Bar Association has long recognized mediation as an important skill for attorneys to have, and not surprisingly, the Section on Dispute Resolution is one of the ABA’s newest and fastest growing sections with over 19,000 members. The Section recently stated:
The recognition that not all cases are well suited for the adversarial process and that there are multiple paths to justice is increasingly shared by attorneys, judges, and the public.
Mediation is often preferred over litigation because it is generally voluntary, collaborative, confidential, informed, impartial, and balanced. “Surveys of those who have participated in mediation reveal strong levels of satisfaction.”
The ABA Section on Dispute Resolution is holding its 2011 Mediation Week from October 16 – 22 with the theme “Civility and Civil Public Discourse.”
Lawyers and mediators play a special role in promoting civility and civil public discourse. In their use of mediation and in other endeavors, lawyers can encourage and model the use of civility, non-disparagement, dialogue, problem solving, and other collaborative practices by other lawyers, public officials, community leaders and members of the general public.
As part of Mediation Week, the Section on Dispute Resolution offers a toolkit containing a variety of useful information and links. Among them:
- Resources for conducting Mediation Week programs in your geographic area
- Training exercise for K-12 and college students
- Videos, handouts and explaining the mediation process and benefits for the general public
- Professional conduct resources and handouts