Mediating with an Unrepresented Party

Prof. Sharon Press joined Prof. Lela Love, Prof. Michael Colatrella and Prof. Ellen Waldman at the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Spring Meeting in Seattle for a discussion of a phenomenon raising highly-charged challenges for practitioners:  What are a mediator’s ethical duties to a party to a mediation who is unrepresented and, in at least some respects, disadvantaged in conducting legal negotiations with parties who have the benefit of counsel?  The speakers have personal experience mediating directly or through clinics in EEOC, landlord/tenant, small claims court, or other contexts with varying populations that include self-represented litigants.

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Judge? Mediator? Pick One!

There was a time when mediators were seen as alternatives to judges.  Mediators had skills of client-led interest-based consensual resolution; judges had skills in law-led, positional adjudication.  Now, however, many judges seek mediator training and practice mediation, both on and off the bench.  At an intriguing panel at the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Spring Meeting, James Alfini, Nancy Welsh and Sharon Press investigated some implications of this phenomenon.

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ABA Dispute Resolution Section’s 2015 Spring Meeting

The annual Spring Conference of the ABA Dispute Resolution Section draws hundreds of ADR practitioners, trainers and teachers from around the world.  This year it will take place in Seattle, Washington, on April 15-18.  The Section has asked that we promote it and encourage folks to attend, which I am pleased to do.  The announcement is below.

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Ninth Circuit Reminds Us When Courts Intervene — and When They Don’t — in Arbitrations

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a writ of mandamus directing a district court to vacate an order disqualifying an arbitrator, while the arbitration was pending.  Its succinct opinion in In re Sussex (No. 14-70158, January 27, 2015) serves as a clear lesson in the limitations of judicial intervention in arbitration.

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