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Mediation On-Line

A Newsletter from ADR Resources
Volume 3, No. 6.
From: Ethesis@AOL.Com (Ethesis)


Stephen R. Marsh Picture


For anyone who is interested in my arbitration class syllabus, I've posted the updated one (with other materials as well, including a simple role-play outline) to  I include a note on Dispute Resolution training not being magical -- but being very useful.  After all, one of my students actually tripled his income by applying the skills and knowledge gained in the program (he is a freelance insurance adjuster).

Interesting new Mediation & ADR web sites

A reminder.  If you receive this newsletter, and if you have a web site, please send me the url to look at. I'm actively adding personal mediator's sites at (when I find time) and value referrals and suggestions about good sites in order to mention the sites in this newsletter. 


Review:  Family & Conciliation Courts Review, Volume 38, No. 1 (January 2000).  I'll review this at length next newsletter as well as giving some space to a note about their upcoming symposium in July of 2000.

Redstreet evaluates lawyers websites.  I took a moment to compare my site against their "top ten mistakes" list.

10.  Using Javascript or Active-X plug-ins for navigation (without an alternative).  That is a big mistake and one that I've been tempted by from time to time.  Things look so elegant -- when they work (and a disaster when they don't).

9.  Failing to have a custom 404 (file not found) page.  I'm the one who pointed this out to Redstreet, so you can guess that I think it is important.

8.  Failure to have a mature search engine (if your site is big enough).  I have three of them that serve the site.  (click on the search navigation link at the bottom of any page on the site to use them).

7. Needing to either use "www" or to omit "www" from your url to reach your site.  Another one of my favorite points to make with people. and both reach my site.

6.  Consistent navigation.  I finished a complete rewrite of the site to give it two sets of consistent navigation aids, that complement each other rather than interfere with each other.  The top of any page or the bottom of any page will allow you to instantly navigate the site.

5.  Failing to change the look of the home page from time to time.  My changes have been subtle, but they happen from time to time.

4.  Difficult to remember domain names. = ADR Resources.  With only four letters it works better than works.

3.  Failing to list your url with your professional directory.  

2.  Inadequate graphics.  Simple graphics are ok.  Consistant graphics are important.  But unprofessional graphics are bad.

1.  Lack of content.  

BTW, to see the "top ten" list as they wrote it, and the percentage of large law firm sites that make them, visit  Up to 93% of the 300 sites visited had at least one mistake.

Current Issues

In consulting I have run across some interesting institutional barriers to mediation services.  Those will eventually be incorporated into my systems design class (the one I'm teaching after health care and dispute resolution systems) and I will have some on-line materials on that area.

Another current issue is: "where in the university do you place a dispute resolution program?"  I personally believe that it belongs as a sub-set of organizational behavior.  OB (as it is called in business schools) has two completely different sides the same way that negotiation theory has two sides.  On the one side is game theory and various approaches that are what many consider fluff. On the other side are solid applications derived from real world models that can be cleanly implemented. Dispute resolution systems that work (often in the context of human relations [HR] departments) belong to the pragmatic side of OB. They provide tools and systems that make a difference and that provide value when a consultant visits and wants to transmit real knowledge and real skill that can be measured in changes to the bottom line.


My web site is doing fairly well.  Over 100k hits per week (not counting caching), up from 60k last year.  12,000 visits last week with 2,000 to the home page. I was a little afraid to redesign the site because it was registering well on search engines, but the redesign put me to #1 on Google and doesn't seem to have hurt me on Excite, HotBot, Lycos or Direct Hit.  I find that I don't trust search engines (or trust them) based on the results they generate for the term "mediation."

I should note that I have obtained a single client (other than some pro bono work) from my web site, but am pleased with it none-the-less.

Submissions to

As always, I am interested in any submissions or articles anyone would like to have posted on the web -- and I am glad to be able to point them out in this newsletter.  I prefer to post material as you have written it, with no editorial changes by myself.  I have some essays I received in hard copy that I really liked -- now if I can only get them on a floppy disk (the e-mail attachments garbled, probably due to the limits of my ISP) I'll have them on the site and listed in the next newsletter.

With my best regards, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Stephen Marsh
Additional material is included in the on-line version.
If you are curious where the term/name Ethesis comes
from, visit

Back issues at

If for some reason you wish to be removed from my periodical mailings please let me know. If I'm sending anyone extra copies or sending it to anyone who shouldn't be getting it, please let me know. This e-mail mailing list is supposed to be limited only people who would be interested and who have subscribed.  Thanks for your patience and help.

Post Script (the "extra" material for the on-line version).


Federal ADR Clause:

Any contractual dispute(s) under $100,000 arising between the parties in contract or during pre-award solicitation, should be resolved by mutual agreement at the Contracting Officer level. Reasonable efforts shall be made to resolve disputes as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable. Agencies have the authority pursuant to the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (ADRA), Pub. L. 101-522, to make use of ADR procedures to resolve contractual disputes. ADR is defined as any voluntary procedure or combination of procedures used to resolve issues in controversy without the need to resort to litigation. These procedures may include, but are not limited to the following: Facilitation; Ombudsman; Negotiation; Mediation; and Arbitration. For contractual disputes greater than $100,000 refer to Federal Acquisition Regulation clause 52.233-1 entitled "Disputes", where additional ADR requirements are stipulated.

QUESTION (On an employment advice board)

Have you ever heard of “X helping X” groups (e.g., lawyers helping lawyers)? These groups consist of people being rehabilitated from disabilities of one sort or another (including a number of recovering alcoholics).

I'm in a law firm that has a partner who attends AA meetings as part of the support crew (he joined AA 20 years ago and has been sober since). A while back he started recruiting the occassional employee from the group. The success of hires from that group (vs. hires from the general population) is about 4 to 1. Quite honestly, next time we need to hire someone I want to start attending the support group just to start looking at potential hires.

In the groups you get a full disclosure of all the person's problems, a good feel for the degree of recovery (joining one of these groups is a major step towards recovery) and the people are generally competent and humble. They are loyal and grateful as heck to be employeed as well.

I brought this up with my partners a while back and they were pretty amazed at my suggestion, but when I started pointing out the people (vis a vis the “traditional” hires we've had), they realized I was on to something. So, I’ve started visiting this particular group.

It just never hit me before, until we brought the latest hire in who worked out extremely well and I was asking where we had found her. She came from the AA group. I got to thinking after that. Why not select groups that have the kinds of people we want, and recruit from them?


I have corporate clients who pay me a lot of money to provide them with recruiting ideas like the one you just described. It's so obvious, it's almost silly, isn't it? Employers get so stuck thinking about hiring the traditional way that it never occurs to them to make it “personal”. That means having managers stop and think about social, professional and community settings where potential job candidates congregate. You've hit on a particularly interesting one, where you're not only getting what you want, but helping the kinds of people who make great employees.

Think of all the other possible sources of job candidates, all of them essentially “free”:

· Local chamber of commerce meetings
· Church groups
· Professional associations/meetings
· Job search clubs (I've done workshops at the local Y, where very talented downsized people gather to learn how to job hunt – why don't employers jump on these?)
· Professional training programs (e.g., word processing, network engineering, marketing, you name it) in whatever disciplines you want your people to be good at (send a few of your managers regularly; “students” at these programs are great potential hires; you can recruit them)

Get the idea? I think you already do. Thanks for sharing a great tip from the employer side! My compliments!

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