March 10, 2020

March 2020 - Mediation Committee

A Message from the Mediation Committee Chairs

Welcome to the March issue of Just Resolutions, sponsored by the Mediation Committee. Our theme is Technology, Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mediation: What’s Self-Care Got to do with It? We want to express our thanks to Gabrielle Hartley and Doug Witten for devising the theme and curating this issue. Little did we know when we approved this theme back in the summer how apt it would be today.

In this new world of social distancing, self-care is more important than ever. Mediation has always served as an important safety valve for social conflict; with many other avenues closed off, its value has increased exponentially. Yet mediators, too, are subject to the isolation and fear that abounds today. As mediators, we need to ensure that we have both the inner tools to deal with the current challenges, as well as the technological tools to enable us reach out and help others.  The Mediation Committee has been offering vehicles to accomplish this through monthly on-line meetings, the Reflective Practice sessions led by Michael Lang (author of two books on reflective practice), as well as by contributing to webinars and podcasts. We have added an online mediation piece to this issue to help you get acquainted with this type of practice and we encourage you to connect with us to contribute to the Mediation Committee’s success in maintaining our community of practice.


Judith Starr, Susan Guthrie, and Edd McDevitt
Mediation Committee Co-chairs

Featured Articles

The Evolution of Dissolution
By Laura Wasser

I am a child of divorce. My parents separated when my brother and I were teens, and they had one of the most respectful, amicable divorces possible in the mid-1980s, certainly due in part to the fact that both of my parents were attorneys…I was briefly married between my second and third years of law school…Shortly after graduating and taking the bar exam, we separated in 1994. We had nothing but a Jeep Cherokee, a pit bull named Raul and some credit card debt – and I got it all. Read more

The Dispute Resolution Professional’s Guide to Wellness 
By Robert Herbst

As a dispute resolution professional, you are like a black hole. Unlike the advocate, who can passionately adopt a cause, you must impassively absorb the arguments of both sides, often in the most trying of situations. You are surrounded by the pain and angst of people whose marriages have failed, whose businesses have gone under, and who feel wronged and betrayed by people they loved and trusted. You must then use your wisdom and skill to try to reach a fair outcome. Often without realizing it, no matter how objective you try to be, you internalize all this as stress. Read more

Make Technology Serve You
By Olga Galanter

Work-related stress is one of the most-discussed topics among legal professionals. Many take measures to decompress and unwind (typically, outside of the workplace) and to seek that elusive work-life balance. However, the true antidote to stress in the workplace is its prevention. Read more

Online Dispute Resolution - Good for Clients and Their Lawyers
By Ted Raynor and Jeff Liffrig

Online methods and tools are expanding and being used by more and more people long before reaching a courtroom. The terms of service of almost all online services now include a form of Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) which means that virtually no disputes in this context will ever reach the traditional court system. Read more

What I Learned from Getting to Yes with Yourself
By Judith R. Starr

On a regular basis, I reach for William Ury’s Getting to Yes with Yourself to reabsorb his techniques for staying calm, centered, and focused on the parties in my mediations. The co-author of the seminal Getting to Yes, Ury realized more than three decades after its publication that he had not accounted for the most difficult people with whom we negotiate – ourselves. Read more

The Future is Online – Why You Need to Offer Online Dispute Resolution Services
By Susan E. Guthrie
(This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Just Resolutions Newsletter

In today’s fast-paced world, clients are increasingly looking for convenience and efficiency in all areas of their lives – including when it comes to dispute resolution. No more do scheduling, traffic, child care and geographic location need to influence the conduct of a mediation session. Online dispute resolution, through various electronic means such as video conferencing and messaging, is becoming the norm as our lives are more and more lived out through our devices.

Online Resources for Dispute Resolution Professionals

We have pulled together resources to help you practice online and virtually. See our new Online Practice Tools web site. We will be adding more webinars, recordings, and articles in the coming weeks. If there are resources you need, contact associate director Gina Viola Brown at or 202-212-9314.

ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference

The coronavirus has upended just about everything in our lives, including the annual Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference. For more than twenty years, our members have gathered each spring to learn from each other.

We are incredibly sad that we will not be able to meet in-person this year, however the Conference planning committee is working on ways that we can hold a virtual spring conference so that we can share the terrific programming with you and provide opportunities for camaraderie and small group chats.

Please stay tuned.

We plan to announce details soon.

Directory of Women in Dispute Resolution

The 2020 WIDR Member Directory of ADR Practitioners is a resource for those seeking to hire women as dispute resolution neutrals. The Directory includes names, specific practice areas, types of practice, and geographic location along with links to practitioner web sites. 

Representation in Mediation Competition

The Representation in Mediation Competition has also been put on hold by the coronavirus outbreak. ABA staff and the Competition Coordinating Committee are trying to hold the two remaining regional competitions in an online format. The competition nationals will also be held in an online format.