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Mediation On-Line

A Newsletter from ADR Resources
Volume 5, No. 3 (January 2002)


Stephen R. Marsh Picture


This issue recommends some books, discusses some developments in mediation, and has some of my opinions.  I hope you find it worthwhile.

The Recommended Book of the Month:

I am recommending a magazine:  Conflict Resolution Quarterly, sponsored by the Association for Conflict Resolution.  It has a modest, but significant change (I think it is an improvement) in editorial voice, and I strongly recommend it, at least the first issue under its new name (Volume 19, Number 1, Fall 2001).

I've also been reading some essays and some recorded lectures by Dr. Hugh Nibley from almost a decade ago.  I'm not going to identify them as they are probably not likely to interest most readers of the newsletter, but as I get to the fourth semester's transcripts, he is speaking strongly on the topic of revenge and how we ought not to engage in it.  I confess to not being a pacifist.  I was raised in a military home.  But my granduncle, who was the most decorated WWII Marine from California, he burned his uniform and his medals before getting off of the plane coming home from the Pacific.  My dad, with two Korean Presidential Citations (he did forward fire control for the ROK Dragon Battalion in Viet Nam) spends his time doing volunteer religious service and hates war.

Strange that in the midst of what seems to be a just war, with results much better than anyone could forecast, I find myself with inchoate feelings about peace and the need for peace instead of military might.  I don't have a bottom line conclusion for you, or even any suggestions, but I am seeking deeper understanding.  

Interesting new Mediation & ADR (and other) web sites

On Mediation in a Religious Context

Kenneth Newberger what appears to be value added shuttle negotiation style mediation (that is why I post to a deep link on his site rather than -- so you can start with the heart of his approach).  Others who I admire tend to teach more of a structured facilitation initiative approach -- including a strongly preformatted approach that I have recommended before as great for churches, bad for health care dispute resolution.

The same split can be seen in environmental and public policy negotiation contexts (and I encourage people to seek the broader approach in those contexts).

I find the spread of mediation (over other types of dispute resolution) fascinating, some times disquieting, and always worth observing.  Sometimes it is definitely superior (as in construction site mediation supplanting, to some extent, arbitration), sometimes very problematic (as in environmental mediation supplanting facilitation initiatives), sometimes a matter of the application and the issues (as in church settings) sometimes an important improvement when properly structured (as in health care provider conflicts).

Educational Programs / News and Book Reviews/Books/Periodicals

There is an ADR conference in Hawaii this April. Contact Charles Crumpton at 2515 Dole Street or (808) 535-8400 for more information.  It conflicts with the ABA conference, but if you don't feel like Seattle it is definitely worth looking into.

The ABA conference, New Vistas in Dispute Resolution is April 4-6, 2002; Seattle, Washington.  I'll be there, barring any disasters.  Web links for the conference include Mini-Conference on Court ADR: Legal Educators' Colloquium: Faculty Page:

I'll be in Seattle, doing a presentation with several others.  I hope to see you there.  If not, got to Hawaii and let us all envy you!

Current Issues

Mediators and Websites

I have had a number of people question what they see as contradictory positions in my writing.

First, I have questioned the value of the internet as a means of reaching gatekeepers while noting that gatekeepers control mediator selection.

Second, I have recommended websites and the services at, while providing some serious caveats to those who were interested in using the hosting service that I was offering (and still provide to a few firms).

Third, I have recommended a specific sub-section of mediation (pro-se party divorce mediation) as one that works for people in large metropolitan areas served by significant university populations.

Those comments and reservations all harmonize well.

First, I consider having a website as being the same thing as having a business card or an incoming facsimile line -- just part of doing business and having a complete presence.  These days our office doesn't keep mediator's resumes or business cards -- we just keep track of the websites of the mediators we like.  While that has meant a loss of business for some mediators I think well of (e.g. Wayne Lee, an inexpensive mediator who is also a retired a.v. rated litigator), it is a part of the flow of the times.

Next, for those whose design and esthetic sense is as limited as mine, having a professional design your website, especially if they will also host it for the $15.00 to $20.00 a year a hosting service will charge, is something well worth the effort.  If I were focused more on mediating as a profession and less as mediating as something I do in order to better represent clients, I would probably spend the time and money for professional help on my site.

Finally, selecting mediators via on-line searching and evaluation is something that is driven by early adopters and self-directed consumers.  You will find more of those in large metropolitan areas, and more in pro-se areas (not all pro-ses are people unwilling to spend money ... many times they are self-directed people who wish to maintain control.  Pro-se divorce mediation is tailor made for them).  The most common area of self-directed pro ses is in divorce or family law and they are a group that is readily reached  by the web.  The web site is a good example of that sort of practice if you aren't familiar with pro-se divorce mediation.

I happen to believe that the market is beginning to evolve to where it may very well have room for other types of mediation to find a significant client/customer base.

Which is what is important for mediators who are on-line.  Providing information to people is a nice thing to do, and it is what my site is about.  Providing information to mediators (which I am more focused on) really doesn't seem to have any side-effect other than niceness (maybe if I offered training?  I need to think about the topic, but I don't see any commercial benefit right now).  But the real goal for anyone who has a website ought to be two-fold.

One, as a deal closer.  I.e. when someone is directed by a court or has you recommended to them, they can look at your website and learn something about you -- the things they need to know to improve their comfort level and close the deal.

Two, as a deal creator, for people who know they need a mediator and who are self-directed.  I think that 2002 is probably the year where a website has value for reaching that goal.

Does that mean that I will start offering webhosting again?  No.  I lack the time, interest or desire to rekindle that service. But I would encourage you to visit and to look at web hosting services and talk with design professionals and to consider perhaps whether or not your community is one where a website would benefit you.  I've updated that article some, including removing all the references to when I offered hosting services.  For what it is worth, I'm making a strong recommendation for a service that I no longer provide.  But read the essay at

For a bit of perspective, visit -- my second newsletter, written in 1997.  It discusses websites for mediators and has some simple interpolations added in the year 2000.

Teaching ADR

The field of ADR has grown to the point where there is a substantial core/corp of people teaching it and some history is building up.

I would appreciate the reflections, comments and thoughts of people teaching as they apply to teaching in the ADR field, including those musings you might consider letting me publish, either alone or in a collection with others, on my website.  I think the field is mature enough to justify retrospectives.

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 should also note that I am changing my service provider, so that is the best e-mail address to use to reach me.

With my best regards, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Stephen Marsh
Additional material is included in the on-line version.
This month's on-line version includes a sample employment opportunity for review.
If you are curious where the term/name Ethesis comes
from, visit

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