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Mediation On-Line

A Newsletter from ADR Resources
Volume 4, No. 6.
From: (Ethesis)


Stephen R. Marsh Picture


I can recommend two books (both below) and have two new essays.

First, my book of the month is Conflict Resolution by Daniel Dana (Briefcase Books, McGraw-Hill).  It is a definite recommend.  I'm going to insist that students go to page 19 and highlight the box "be conservative" and that they take a white-out market and blank out every time the text says "Got your attention yet, Roy?" (the tag line really annoyed me), but I've had some serious discussions about using it as the text for an introduction to conflict resolution class.  For more on a proposed set of classes (and text books) for a dispute resolution program, see

Our German Intern, an attorney, finished up her residency with us and returned to Germany.  Her thoughts are at -- including what she thought of American style mediation and the Courts.  We all adored her and were sad to see her go.

Game, Set, Match:  Winning the Negotiation Game_, by Henry S. Kramer (ALM Publishing) is a good companion book for something such as NITA's A Practical Guide to Negotiation.  It has the added texture and follows a structure very similar to the "For Dummies" books with tips, tricks and traps sprinkled liberally throughout the 360+ pages of text.

The Recommended Book of the Month:

I am recommending Conflict Resolution by Dan Dana this month.

Interesting new Mediation & ADR web sites

I always enjoy the way people identify themselves as "the leading" or "the premiere" provider. Not that many groups do not have significant involvement, or provide premier level services, but ... I'd actually like to see some surveys and a ranking analysis so that the AAA, JAMS, CPR, Rand, etc., can kind of have a better idea of who is "the leading" and who is "the premiere" group -- and why.

I would start by asking each group to provide a 500 word or less summary of what their focus is and why they should be considered "the best."

From there I think a survey could be conducted. I might do one myself, and am looking for a partner to help in survey design and distribution.


1. Groups self-nominate.

2. Groups self-describe.

3. Questionaire format:

The format that comes to mind is to provide a rating list with an attachment (in randomized orders) that includes links to web pages and the group's 500 word description and two questionaires.  A data base of probably 1200 survey targets would probably be enough for some relevance and I'm as interested to see the effect of the group's self description (or lack of one for those who don't send in a description) on ratings as the ratings themselves.

Educational Programs:

US News & World Report came out with their yearly rating spree.

Law School DR programs are rated once again at

1. University of Missouri–Columbia
2. Pepperdine University (CA)
3. Harvard University (MA)
4. Ohio State University
5. (tie) Hamline University (MN)
5. Willamette University (OR)
7. Cardozo-Yeshiva University (NY)
8. (tie) Georgetown University (DC)
University of Texas–Austin
10. Stanford University (CA)
11. Columbia University (NY)
12. Northwestern University (IL)

What is interesting about that list is that #1 is an LLM program with three endowed chairs -- what I would call a strong program. #8 includes a school that is building a center (but, last I checked, hadn't finished the center, only the publicity and website -- though it is a great school).

Most of the programs do not offer as much DR training as a good DR graduate program (maybe, for example, ICAR, PERC or PARC, not to mention UMass) -- in fact, with the spread of the the types of schools they rate in the graduate school section, I'm surprised they don't rate DR programs -- but they don't rate PhD programs for business either.

I should note that I kind of do rate DR programs.

First tier: "established real grad school program" -- e.g. the four I've mentioned and others.

Second tier: "overgrown continuing education derived full featured program" -- the kind I teach at and the way I look at programs like the one at

Third tier: "not yet fully grown continuing education or equivalent programs" (ones with 4-5 classes in them, often quite good, btw -- e.g.

Fourth tier: schools with one to three classes in DR (heck, that would swallow up or do better than some of the top 10 law school ADR programs) .

The bottom 60%: schools that don't have a DR program yet <g>

Of course I'm painting with a broad brush. And, I put the Mennonite schools in a class of their own (much like one might put saints in a class of their own).

Right now there are several ways DR is being taught.

For more on that topic, Five Paths to Teaching Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management is an on-line essay at that goes into the ways DR is taught and how to find a job teaching it. The five areas (not listed in any particular order, since #3 is obviously the "number one" way to teach DR) are:

1. law schools.

2. programs developed from continuing education divisions (a traditional place for a new discipline to find a grip in academia -- many of these programs, if you don't know the history, do not seem to have anything to do with ce -- the references to continuing education are not a demeaning reference in this context, but rather an historical note -- consider the psych programs on the East Coast that 100 years ago used to be art schools).

3. Graduate schools in DR (ICAR, PERC, PARC, UMass, etc.).

4. Business Schools (PhD, not MBA) and Conflict Resolution programs.

5. Other areas with DR emphasis (e.g. sociology, psychology, etc.) that have grown DR programs in connection with what they are doing. Education is a prime example of this with many programs having strong DR emphasis for teaching DR to grade school children.

Each of these programs has a completely different niche. Consider education schools with DR programs and tens of millions of dollars in federal funding. Most of those are completely off the radar to people who rate law school programs (and a lot of others).

Anyway, this is obviously not going to conclude with a master rating that says "this one is the best" but rather illustrates just how far you have to go just to have a framework to properly look at the programs.

I'm curious how others see the topic (and would welcome the chance to put your thoughts on my website, if anyone is interested in sending me their thoughts).

News and Book Reviews/Books/Periodicals

Well, I continue to think about unbundled legal services.  I should have the book reviewed next month.  I'm of two minds on the subject.  The first is that I've been providing those kinds of services for the last fifteen years or so, to some clients and often at my suggestion.  The second is that the people most likely to ask for unbundled services often ask for them in impossible ways (please show up for me at just this one hearing -- the local judges won't ever let us out if we do that) or in ways that make me uninterested in having them as clients (you will do "x" and you will do it in manner "y" and you will charge me one tenth of the number of hours it will take to get the work done).

I was terribly pleased to get copy of the issue of The Colorado ADR Forum Committee newsletter that included a copy of my essay, Ethics and the Role of a Mediator.  I should note that they used the essay by permission and that the essay was inspired by an ethics discussion I was in where I sat next to a Colorado mediator.  The essay is one of my favorites and I was tickled pink to see it in print.

_Unbundling Legal Services_ A guide to Delivering Legal Services a la Carte by Forrest S. Mosten (ABA) is the book about unbundled legal services (for anyone who wants to buy a copy before I finish the review).

Current Issues

I've worked as an editor and I've worked as a writer in the commercial simulations field (mostly in the game industry).  One thing that really struck me then was the number of times that an idea surfaced all on its own, more than once.  Each person involved was certain that the idea was new and that no one else could possible think of it.  After a while, I became convinced that with most ideas, almost everyone was likely to think of them at some point.  Maybe sooner.

The other thing I often saw was someone exposed to an idea and then having that idea sink into their subconcious and rise back up again.  That happened a lot as well. You could generally tell as a list of ten ideas might shrink to eight or grow to twelve, and the details would change or shift.

In either case, I never attributed bad motives to the event.  I personally expect it as a natural process (and a great opportunity to tease friends).  On the other hand, when I find forty or fifty pages cloned (down to the copyright notice) on a site that is charging people for their access and use, I have an entirely different reaction.

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.

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

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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).

See the two linked essays above.

Mediation Bulletin Board Link
Link to Dispute Resolution Related Book Reviews

Copyright 2001 Stephen R. Marsh
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