FALL 2014-WINTER 2015: ADR and Elder Law

Transformative Mediation: Transforming the Adversarial Ethic

Features

Transformative Mediation: Transforming the Adversarial Ethic

I left the practice of litigation 21 years ago to found a firm built on mediation and the promotion of peaceful, cost effective, and sustainable resolutions though quality dialogue. It isn’t only my business—it’s my mission.

The adversarial method of seeking truth should be modified in mediations. Mediations dependent on lawyering skills have become too combative, drawing litigators to ADR and depressing the use of mediation. This has been especially unfortunate for seniors.

What makes conflict resolution in the context of aging different from other conflict resolution? The number of birthdays of the parties should not necessarily affect the kinds of conflicts, the dispute resolution skills needed, or the process of resolution. But it does.

The 2014 Afghan experience, like the 2000 Florida experience, involved the nonviolent transfer of civil authority. In both elections, the process was hampered by the lack of clear and predetermined standards for questioned ballots.

While being selected to serve as estate executor reflects a high degree of trust, the wise attorney should take certain precautions and fulfill his or her role with due diligence and integrity.

One of the most frequent requests I get for information relates to limiting one’s exposure to identity theft and privacy invasion. Unfortunately, seniors, who generally came to the Internet late in life, often subject themselves to needless risk and exposure.

Some lawyers consider "recareering" in retirement in the fields of mediation and arbitration. These ADR roles occur in fairly friendly settings with all the familiar lingo. However, lawyers should use their lawyerly skills to check a number of ethics issues.

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