January 01, 2015

Transformative Mediation: Transforming the Adversarial Ethic

Louise Phipps Senft

Before sharing with you important information about transformative mediation, first let me share with you that 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 and the mission of our team at my firm, Baltimore Mediation. We believe in the transformative power of quality dialogue. We believe in the restorative power of a conversation driven by participants courageous enough to have a face-to-face candid discussion with the assistance of a skilled mediator. Mediation creates a safe space, supported by confidentiality—via state and federal court rules throughout the country and in one state, Maryland, by statute—which ensures that nothing in the conversation can be used for or against any party in an adversarial context. Mediation can be a powerful process for those who have the courage to request or demand it. The trouble is, when faced with legal problems or conundrums or challenges, many if not most businesses do not know that mediation exists as a viable option because the information is not shared with them by their litigation or corporate counsel. If it is raised as an option by counsel, it is often then dismissed by counsel as “not viable” or “not for this case.” Or, if the mediation option is posed by the client, legal counsel often advises against it as “too risky.” Too risky for whom? And why not for this case?

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