The BCM Approach to Conflict Resolution

F. Peter Phillips brings value to the dispute resolution process in the form of ADR sophistication, accountability, rigor, and creativity. This is why disputants hire him and this is his obligation to them. Parties often seek information on an arbitrator or mediator’s “philosophy” in approaching the assignment. Mr. Phillips' approach is outlined here:


The key is flexibility. Each dispute has its own challenges, and each party has her or his own needs. Therefore, categories such as “facilitative” or “evaluative” mediator techniques are both too exclusive and too broad to be useful guides to predict how a mediator will approach a particular conflict. The goal of any mediation is agreement. The mediator must be independent, impartial and neutral – but in addition must be tenacious, persistent, empathetic, trustworthy, imaginative, and a very quick learner. Mr. Phillips will use any available technique to encourage an outcome that addresses each party’s priorities and adds immediate commercial value to their business concerns that outcomes of litigation or arbitration may not afford.


The key is accountability. An arbitrator is accountable to the parties to conduct a process that is fair, transparent and in accordance with their expectations; and to issue an award that is accurate and enforceable. Arbitration can still be efficient, principled and commercially rational, as long as it is conducted with those goals in mind. Mr. Phillips will ask parties to narrow the issues in dispute to the extent possible; to agree upon boundaries for awards if desired; to expedite information exchange; to identify threshold issues whose disposition may avoid expense; and to take other actions necessary to streamline the process and assure client satisfaction with the arbitration process.