Categories
Mediation Speaking & Training

Seven reasons to avoid a joint mediation session

Devil's Postpile National Monument - Rainbow Falls
Joint sessions

Seven reasons to avoid a joint mediation session

This and many other topics will be revealed in: The “End Game” of Mediation and How to Succeed at It [A Comprehensive Road Map to the Mediation Process] on Tuesday, March 10, 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm @ the Contra Costa Bar Association.

Speakers Ken Strongman, Esq. and Malcolm Sher, Esq. will lead a program for Advocates designed to create a highly positive mediation experience and outcome for themselves and their clients. These two successful mediators will discuss some of the best practices for negotiation and to prepare the client, advocate, mediator and opposition for the mediation journey.

The Contra Costa County Bar Association certifies that this activity has been approved for 3 hours of General MCLE credit by the State Bar of California, Provider #393.

To register for the event: Register Here

NOW FOR THE ANSWER: Seven reasons to avoid a joint mediation session

Stated another way: the advantages of a private session with the mediator

1. It is an opportunity to explain the case to a neutral person
2. The attorney and party get to evaluate their own case
3. The ability to use the mediator as a sounding board and coach
4. To be able to talk openly
5. Discuss solutions
6. Identify components of solutions from your stand point
7. Emote and vent in private about the case and the other side (person)

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Resolving conflicts through negotiation

negociationResolving conflicts through negotiation.

Resolving Conflict is a part of life. Negotiation is how conflicts are resolved. Hopefully, they can be resolved peacefully and to the satisfaction of both parties to the conflict. It is also part of any leaders skill set. Therefore, some of these blog postings will deal with ways a leader can help resolve conflicts.

I hope to provide useful information on:

  • Know and articulate several ways that good leadership can minimize conflict.
  • Understand how the acronym E.A.R. can be used as a tool for resolving conflicts (Express, Address, Resolve).
  • Use several communications skills important for resolving conflicts
  • Know negotiating skills to resolve conflicts for the benefit of all parties to the conflict.

All conflict resolution involves negotiation. Therefore as a starting point, let’s look at the definition and characteristics of negotiation.

What is Negotiation

Negotiation is a voluntary, non-binding bargaining process, in which the parties to a dispute attempt resolution among themselves.  Often, agents of the disputing parties (their lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, and so forth), who are in actual communication with each other, are the negotiators.  The actual disputing persons sometimes do not meet or participate in direct discussions until most, or all, of the dispute has been resolved.

Characteristics of Negotiation

The chief characteristics of negotiation are:

  • Mutual Consent. Negotiation is voluntary.  The parties cannot be compelled to negotiate or even negotiate in good faith.  Negotiations cease when one party declines to continue.
  • Successful Result is Enforceable. A negotiated settlement, usually memorialized in a written agreement, is as valid and enforceable as any common law contract.
  • The parties and/or their agents are in personal contact with each other.  A third party neutral is involved in negotiations.
  • No statute or case law governs the process of negotiation.  Some prefer to negotiate in person.  Others use letters, e-mail, or telephone calls.  Still others negotiate through agents or intermediaries.
  • Negotiation is a process, taking place over time, as opposed to a single meeting or a brief exchange of correspondence.
  • Negotiators share facts and arguments often in a disorganized manner.  Negotiators posture and obfuscate, misstate the law, rail and threat and bluff, implore and cajole, and mix fact with fiction, exaggeration, and lies, during a series of back-and-forth communications.
  • Negotiations are usually conducted in private.  Publicity is anathema to a frank exchange of opinions, offers, and demands negotiations.

For an experienced Mediator to help negotiate a resolution to your dispute contact Ken Strongman. Here.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Arbritration

About FINRA Arbitrators

FINRA
FINRA

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry. FINRA is not part of the government. It is an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly.

Its independent regulation plays a critical role in America’s financial system—by enforcing high ethical standards, bringing the necessary resources and expertise to regulation and enhancing investor safeguards and market integrity—all at no cost to taxpayers.

Its mission is to safeguard the investing public against fraud and bad practices. They pursue that mission by writing and enforcing rules and regulations for every single brokerage firm and broker in the United States, and by examining broker-dealers for compliance with our own rules, federal securities laws and rules of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

All brokers must be licensed and registered by FINRA, pass their qualification exams and satisfy continuing education requirements.

It recruits, trains and manages a roster of arbitrators

FINRA recruits, trains and manages a roster of arbitrators. It selects arbitrators from a diverse cross-section of professionals. I am privileged to have been one of those selected. The arbitrators are available to arbitrate cases in over 70 hearing locations in the US, including one in Puerto Rico and one in London, UK.

It pledges to provide impartial, knowledgeable and courteous staff and highly trained arbitrators committed to delivering fair, expeditious and cost-effective dispute resolution services for investors, brokerage firms and their employees.

Finally, I, as an arbitrator am an independent contractor, not employee of FINRA.

Ken_Strongman_003smAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

A handy tool for resolving conflicts.

conflict tool
Tool for resolving conflicts

A very handy tool for approaching any conflict situation that needs to be resolved is E.A.R. 

Ask the people involved to:

Express – What you want and what are you doing to get it.

Address – Why it is working or not working.

Resolve – What ways there are to solve the situation.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Mediators Playing the Devil’s Advocate

Devil's Advocate
Devil’s Advocate

Mediators Playing the Devil ’s Advocate

Devil’s Advocate is one of the roles of a mediator. A good mediator such as myself, does not forfeit his personal opinions simply because he serves as a neutral facilitator. These opinions and preconceptions can help inform certain beliefs. However, a strong mediator knows how to view a case from multiple angles. This is an important quality to possess as it helps provide a counter point to a party or attorney’s one-sided approach.

A Strong Mediator

A strong mediator gives consideration to the strengths and weaknesses of both sides. When in a private caucus with one side, the mediator may mention a potential weakness in this side’s argument. He may even ask the party what his or her argument would be if he or she was on the other side. He or she may get the attorney to contemplate the same scenario and ask for facts and legal theories that would support the other side.
By recognizing the strengths of the other side and the weaknesses of their own side, parties can start to contemplate the potential of what would happen if they lose. This can often inspire them to fully participate in negotiations so that they can avoid the possibility of losing the case or facing other adverse effects.

Sounding Board

Mediator is a “sounding board” for your arguments, and for offers/counter offers. I can deal with the hypotheticals and be a “coach”, to deliver bad news and explain opponents’ responses to offers. I, as a strong mediator give you an opportunity to explain the case to a neutral person help you and your attorney evaluate your case. Finally, a good mediator helps identify components of solutions from your stand point and delivers bad news to both sides.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Arbritration FAQ Mediation

FAQ: Are Retired Judges Better Mediators?

Stinson Beach, Dip Sea Trail, CP XC Team

FAQ: Are Retired Judges Better Mediators?

It is assumed that a retired judge makes a better mediator than someone that has not been a judge.  This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Rendering judgment requires an entirely different skill set than helping the parties resolve their case through mediation.  The day to day activities of a judge do not lend themselves to facilitating the resolution of conflicts.  The basic skill that is useful to a judge but not a mediator is the ability to make quick and final decisions on any particular issue. Therefore when they approach mediation they want to make the decision and not let the parties control their own solution to the problem.

It is assumed that 20-years on the bench translates to 20-years experience working with civil attorneys and parties and the issues of civil litigation.  In most courts today, very few judges are presiding over civil trials.  Most of their days as spent presiding over criminal trials.  Even the remaining time of their tenure on the bench is divided between family law, juvenile, probate, and traffic.

The law practice of most judges before being appointed to the bench is not as a civil attorney.  Many were deputy district attorneys or public defenders before becoming judges.  Therefore they have no experience with any civil issues before becoming judges.

Mediation is a voluntary process that centers on discussions and decision-making, rather than judgment by a judge or retired judge. It is focused on resolving disputes based on the factual circumstances, the needs of the parties and practicality, and not solely on the legal rights of the parties. Often, the mere presence of a retired judge creates an antagonistic and adversarial atmosphere that impedes resolution rather than assisting it.

 In reality you want a mediator such as me that is trained in helping the parties resolve their problems.

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Listening is the best way to resolve conflicts.

listening
Listening to resolve conflicts

The better the information you have, the greater your chances of finding a workable solution.  Listen carefully to what others are saying, not judging until you hear everyone’s story.  Be aware of tone of voice, body language, and other clues.  Understand what each person is expressing – what he wants and what he is willing to do to get there.  Then clarify that the solution lies with all parties. 

Listen carefully to what others are saying without judgment until you have everyone’s side of the story.  Clarify what you have heard and then reframe it back to each party.  Remember the solution lays with both parties not you.

**For the last decade I’ve been involved with leadership development of tomorrow’s leaders.  Using my expertise, I am training the youth leaders in conflict resolution.  This blog is adapted from my training materials. 

 

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Arbritration FAQ Mediation

What am I getting for my money when I hire a mediator?

Hire a mediator
Hire a mediator.

What am I actually getting for my money when I hire a mediator?

When you hire me as your mediator, you are buying the opportunity, through a neutral third party, to evaluate with someone who is an objective “sounding board,” your real needs (personal, economic, spiritual, etc.) and to evaluate which dispute resolution process will best help you meet those needs.

*    You are buying my opinions and impressions of “your first juror,” as to existing information/evidence and that which is non-existent.

*    You are buying an opportunity to become more informed of the risks and benefits involved in resolving or litigating a dispute.

*    You are buying an opportunity to address and resolve differences of opinion or expectation between you and your client, you and other professionals or between several clients (business partners, etc.).

*    In addition, you are buying many things that can’t be quantified, unique to your particular dispute, which come with the intervention of an experienced neutral.

I am usually hired as a mediator because of my perceived ability to resolve a dispute.

Mediators don’t settle cases, parties do! What you are really buying are choices.  My value as a mediator is my expertise in guiding all of the parties involved in a dispute to a point where there are new, real and often difficult choices created. It is up to you to evaluate those choices, in light of the insights you gain through the mediation process, and choose that one which will end the dispute in the manner that brings you the most complete resolution. In getting to that point, whether that choice is to accept a proposed settlement or continue on the path to litigation, you have gotten “your money’s worth”.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation Speaking & Training

Teaching youth how to resolve conflicts.

Teaching youth how to resolve conflicts.

I’m privileged to be an adult staff member for a National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) course.  It is a very satisfying experience and a lot of fun.  One key topic on the course is how to resolve conflicts as a leader.  This blog is adapted from this course.

Leading the youth through this necessary topic allows me to bring my professional expertise in settling disputes to the more practical issues of conflict resolution.   The course can be applied to any situation as a young person or adult.

The learning objectives of the conflict resolution course are:

  1. Know and articulate several ways that good leadership can minimize conflict.
  2. Understand how the acronym E.A.R.  can be used as a tool for resolving conflicts (Express, Address, Resolve).
  3. Use several communications skills important for resolving conflicts
  4. Know when, as a leader, the resolution of a conflict is beyond your expertise and how to seek help in resolving the conflict.

Ken StrongmanAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.

Categories
Conflict Resolution Mediation

I’m tired of being called a Mediation Neutral.

neutral
Mediation Neutral

I’m tired of being called a Mediation Neutral.

Most Mediators describe themselves as being a neutral.  It doesn’t help that the courts and clients expect us to be neutral and describes us as such.  But mediators in Europe have difficulty with the description.

In the German Language the term for neutral most closely translates back into English as ‘null’.  So translating it back to English, to be a null means a Mediator as a neutral is without value, effect, consequence, or significance. Further more a Mediator amounts to nothing and is nonexistent.  In math when a variable has no value, it is considered to be null. Having a null value is different than having a value of zero, since zero is an actual value.

No wonder Europeans have had difficulties with the term neutral.  I am much more than a zero let alone a null.  The German term used to describe what a Mediator does is a better description of what I do without speaking German.  Their term encompasses the following ideas:

  • I’m parcel to everyone equally.
  • I’m acting for everyone and in everyone’s best interest.
  • I advocate for a just solution to the dispute.
  • I’m attentive to all the interests of the parties.

This concept is better idea of what I am as a mediator.   I am not a potted plant just sitting there all day hoping that a solution pops up.  I work hard with the parties to find a just solution in a timely manner.

Thanks to my Mediation Society Colleagues, Bruce Edwards, Patrice Prince and Dana Curtis for sharing this idea.  They attended the International Summer School on Business Mediation in Admont, Austria this last summer.

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout the Author: Ken Strongman (www.kpstrongman.com) has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2016 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.