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Mediation On-Line

A Newsletter from ADR Resources
Volume 6, #1 (January-February 2003)
From: s r marsh at adrr . com


Stephen R. Marsh Picture


I can still say that I have been very busy, though very happy.  The every-other month routine will continue for a while. This issue is a little late because I got off track with a friend's death.  He was ten years younger than I am and died suddenly of a heart attack in the middle of the night. Since he was in the middle of selling his house (it sold just as he died), moving, etc., there was a lot to be done.

Short Comment One

I've seen a number of claims, recently, that various minority members are "the new aristocracy" etc. Volokh ( had a wonderful commentary on that, reflecting how the "Aristocrats" have a lower standard of living than the "commoners," they have a lower life expectancy and more of them are arrested and imprisoned, per capita, than commoners.  After a long discussion he concludes:

"When was the land of the free doing better than now? 1948, when blacks weren't free to use the same public schools or public restrooms as whites? 1948, when neither whites nor blacks were free to marry the other race? 1948, when one fundamental right of the post-feudalist order -- the right to vote -- was denied to millions of blacks? 1948, when the First Amendment that the column so praises was on balance considerably less protective than it is today? 1948, when state governments were routinely denying basic Bill of Rights protections to blacks (and, to a considerable extent, to whites)? Or, if you want to go before the income tax and the direct election of senators, 1900, when pretty much all the same was done? 1860 or before? Seems to me that, race preferences, growing federal power, and the occasional excesses of the Left notwithstanding, we are in most important ways more free now than we ever have been in the past. But in any event, it's certainly wrong to say, as the column says, that we're on balance vastly less free now than we have been in some mythical imagined golden age."

Also has a link to

It is easy to look at parts of the past and view the entire world from the best parts.  It is also easy to view parts of the past (or the present) and to view the entire world from the worst parts. The hard thing to do, and what mediators should do best, is to help parties view the world from all of its parts and to find a future reality that they can create that is better than anything they can achieve without mediation. An important part of that is to help people recognize differences between reality and the stories people sometimes tell themselves.

The Recommended Books of the Month, Last Year's Book of the Year:

Conflict Resolution by Daniel Dana (Briefcase Books, McGraw-Hill).  I found that when I had to recommend a book to non-mediators or non-attorneys about how to use the principles of conflict resolution at work, this was the go to book.  It is also the book I'm most likely to have to buy another copy of, my last copy having disappeared (again).  A great book, just hard to keep in the house.

Comment/Link to Essay (Two)

At I have put on-line an essay on finding employment in dispute resolution.  It starts by  noting that "At every mediation conference I attend, the main question mediators are interested in is "How can we make money at this?" Then it asks the question "Haven't we mediators been trained to wonder out loud when people seem to be stuck on one question, whether they are asking the wrong question? That creates the statement/question: "If how can I make money from mediation is the wrong question, what is the right question?"

The essay then goes over comments and feedback and thoughts I have collected from a large number of people.

The essay ends with "there are two questions I see as useful metaquestions, and ones that do not duplicate the things that people have written when responding to the question I posed to over 1,400 people. First, "what use is mediation training if I plan to do nothing more than get the "basic" 40 hours of training?" and Second, "what careers fit mediation training?" The essay then goes over, in outline form, the answers to those two metaquestions.

I hope people find it useful.  I was going to try to submit it for print publication, but just did not connect with any editors who had space and the ABA wasn't interested in a seminar for this year in San Antonio with that as the topic.  I'll probably be in San Antonio anyway, and will definitely be at the Academy of Management this year (I'm on a panel after all).

Hope the essay is useful to some people.

Interesting new Mediation & ADR (and other) web sites

Educational Programs / News and Book Reviews/Books/Periodicals

I haven't read any new books to review.  Did get a copy of the Commercial Law Bulletin, the magazine of the Comercial Law League of America, and liked it.  If that is your sort of practice area, I can recommend the group and their magazine.

As always, I am looking for review copies of books.

Current Issues

I got to listen to an interesting presentation by Linda Swindling, the owner of

She is an attorney and mediator who has been shifting to full time mediation and training.  One thing she noted, and that I would incorporate into my article if I were doing a new edition of it for a print magazine, is that it is extremely difficult to sell people on conflict resolution training and very, very easy (by comparison, not absolutely) to sell them on negotiation training.

I find that trend facinating, especially since it has held steady for over twenty years.  I'm curious as to other people's thoughts.

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.  The above e-mail address (without the spaces -- inserted as a spam block) is the best e-mail address to use to reach me, though I sometimes am not able to check my e-mail for 3 or 4 days.

With my best regards, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

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

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