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Mediation On-Line

A Newsletter from ADR Resources
Volume 6, #2 (March-April 2003)
From: s r marsh at adrr . com


Stephen R. Marsh Picture


I ran into a web site that inspired me. is the url. If you've read the book, the web site is incredible.  If you haven't read the book, the site works without it (though for $8.00 the book is a great deal -- I just ordered a hardcopy of it today.). There is also a blog that supports it: -- just opened. Visit it and add your two cents worth.

I know, last time I was asked (a writer from the Business News called up to chat and asked what book I'd recommend) I said Conflict Resolution by Dan Dana, and I still mean it, but Peacetalk 101 is a great second book.  It is my recommended book of the month.

Since I quit mediating over a year ago, I've been running on inertia as much as anything else in continuing the newsletters, but Peacetalk 101 inspired me.  I expect that the ABA conference in San Antonio in March will also get me more excited, even if all I do now is a little bit of pro bono (free of charge) mediation in the Dallas area.

Short Comment One

I have seen a number of articles, books and speakers who have all taught an approach of "get a mediation here, a mediation there and they will all add up."  The biggest problem I've seen for everyone trying that approach is the absolute inability to get "just one a month" from most sources.  I.e. the local federal court, the Better Business Bureau, EEOC, the post office, etc. all have had closed panels for years, at least in Texas. I've had a large number of people over the years ask "how do I get a foot in the door, how do I get 'just one?'" I don't know the answer. When I was doing a lot more mediation I relied on attorneys and word of mouth and a few judges I knew. I never applied with the vast number of organizations, and all I've heard from is people who tried and who failed.

If anyone has a history of success in "getting just one" from a variety of sources, I'd appreciate comments or thoughts or suggestions I could pass along.  Since my current employment does not allow me to mediate except as an unpaid volunteer on my own time, my current project (for the last year) has been to get judges to send me less referrals -- I'm still getting them more than a year after I quit taking them.

On the employment front, btw, Ron Deane, Dir, HR, Core Funding Group, L.P., 1/800/836-0479 sent me an e-mail asking for persons looking to supplement their arbitration and/or mediation case load to contact him by telephone or at COREFUNDLP@AOL.COM to sell supplemental lines of credit and working capital to personal injury firms.

The Recommended Books of the Month

Peacetalk 101 by Suzette Haden Elgin.   It is a narrative presentation of the core material from the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense system.  Web support materials (a FAQ, discussion topics and questions, a workbook, etc.) are at A must read for most people. Also makes a great gift book. Since around my house we give gifts for Easter, Passover, Solstice, etc., I'm always in need of things that make great gifts rather than "so-so" ones.

I also had a reader recommend Dr. Fred Luskin book: Forgive for Good: A prescription for good health and letting go of grudges.  

Comment/Essay (Two)

Effective lawyers are charismatic and charming. Yet, how often do you hear of someone in law school "gee, that program sure has made George more charismatic and charming?"

I know, that sounds like a great one-liner joke, but it is a serious issue.  The most significant "success" trait for law school is law review.  Structurally, law schools guarantee that 90% of their students won't have that trait. The only equivalents for long term success are acculturation and charisma. They are more important in the long run when you consider associate attrition rates. They are the core skill an effective lawyer needs.

The same is true of mediators, yet I rarely see anyone teaching "this is how to be charismatic" or screening mediators for charisma or acculturation prior to training if they lack the skills to teach those things.

Interesting new Mediation & ADR (and other) web sites

Educational Programs / News and Book Reviews/Books/Periodicals

NCPCR 2003 PeaceWeb Conference & Expo in Atlanta April 3 – 7 sounds interesting, though I won't be there.

I will be in San Antonio for the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference, San Antonio, March, 20-22. Unlike last year, when I was part of a panel (I wasn't able to make it, but my co-presenters presented the material I put together), I'm not on a panel, but I will be there.

Researchers and Students have free access to SAGE Electronic Journals in February and March 2003.  The information for the free access is at

The LL.M. Program in Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law for students who have completed the first degree in law is accepting applicants again.  For more, or contact Karen Neylon, the Program Coordinator, at 573-882-2020 or

I would really like to hear from graduates of the program about where they went after graduation and their impressions about the program.

For a great program, the PDW session on Management E-media at the Academy of Management meeting in Seattle on the morning of Sunday, August 3, 2003 probably will be my favorite this year.

I missed the awards, until now, but visit for the best of 2002.

Comment/Essay (Three)

I  had someone complain that lawyers must not appreciate village elder types as the lawyers didn't value non-attorney mediators. Which caused me to realize that the problem is that lawyers *do* value "village elder" types -- they just don't recognize non-lawyers as "old wise men and women" -- especially if they are not old, successful (our society's benchmark for wise) and experienced/knowledgeable.

Which is why the usual successful career path for becoming a mediator is "become a successful and well regarded litigator, then move to mediation."  That is, prove yourself as a village elder, then mediate disputes rather than champion causes. The same is true of why in the old days most people preferred a retired judge for their mediator.

Interesting thoughts, though I'm wondering what can be done with the realization. How do I convince people that a young and inexperience person without "warrior" skills is competent to sit as a village elder to mediate between warriors (well, that is where attorneys fit in the village elder metaphor)?  I'm still thinking on that one.

Current Issues

In EEOC vs. Waffle House the Supreme Court ruled that the EEOC may sue an employer for alleged violations of civil rights even if the employee has agreed to arbitrate job disputes. For full text of the decision, see -- I'm still looking to see where this decision leads.

The Peace Corps provides resources on Cultural Diversity. Used for instruction in schools, these modules are applicable to many other contexts.  To get started, 7ou might find it interesting to read Lesson 9 - Resolving a Cross-Cultural Misunderstanding ( and "Building Bridges: A Peace Corps Classroom Guide to Cross Cultural Understanding"

My thanks to Deborah Laufer for the following (which I am excerpting):


SHRM Survey: What Do Workers Value? Depends Who You Ask

Alexandria, VA, December 4, 2002 ­ What do workers say will make them happy? A survey by and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) recently addressed this question and found the answer varies depending on whom you ask.

Employees say job security is very important to their satisfaction levels. The top three aspects that are very important to worker satisfaction: 1. Job Security (65%) 2. Benefits (64%) 3. Communication between employees and management (62%)

But what do HR professionals think workers need to be satisfied on the job? HR professionals ranked the following as very important to workers happiness: 1. Communication between employees and management (77%) 2. Recognition by management (62%) 3. Relationship with immediate supervisor (61%)

Considering the differences in responses, the question raised is whether HR professionals are in tune with employees.

[/end excerpt]

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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