An interesting panel at the recent Spring Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section addressed questions of the ethical obligations of business lawyers in various hypothetical situations. Chaired by Ellen Pansky, the panel included Jeff Kraus, Jacqueline Unger and Lois Mermelstein. Read more »
Our final report from the 2014 Spring Meeting of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section addresses Ellen Waldman of Thomas Jefferson School of Law and Lola Akin Ojelabi of La Trobe University in Australia’s discussion of “Mediation Ethics and Substantive Justice: A View from Rawls’ Original Position.”
The question is whether mediation has anything to do with substantive justice. Conventionally, mediators are trained to seek party agreement. Some (but hardly all) mediators encourage the transformation of disputants into people who are somehow better or more capable of living with frustration. The ideal among such a school of thought is that the mediator might serve as the impartial and neutral facilitator of others’ growth: self-determination, impartiality. But even then, not of justice.
At the Miami ABA Dispute Resolution Conference, James Coban, Janice Fletcher, Art Hinshaw and Susan Yates addressed the provocative topic, “Cosmetologists Are Licensed, Why Aren’t Mediators?”
Ms. Yates, of Resolution Systems Institute, clarified some terms of art for the sake of the discussion. “Credentialing” is the big umbrella, the widest term. “Certification” is what a court does. “Licensure” goes beyond courts and is similar to how doctors or lawyers professionally practice. She noted in passing that 1500 hours of training are required to practice as a licensed cosmetologist in Illinois.
David Hoffman from the Boston Law Collaborative offered a program at the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Spring Meeting on “Mediator as Moral Witness: Right and Wrong.” The question presented was: What happens when moral issues arise in the course of a mediation? And, according to Hoffman, they always do.