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Mediator as Medium: Black Box? Transparent? Refractive? Gray?

ABA Section of Dispute Resolution

Wayne Brazil

At the close of a mediation in a business case not long ago, one of the lawyers told me that my approach was new to him. He said other mediators he had worked with tended to remain “black boxes”—meaning that what they were thinking remained largely a mystery. He had been surprised by how freely I disclosed and discussed what I thought was happening in the negotiating process and how various behaviors or moves the parties were considering might affect the health of the mediation process.

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