Category Archives: Learnings from Mediation

Safety in Mediation

A colleague recently did a business mediation here in Michigan where he discovered after the fact that both parties were carrying concealed weapons. As this becomes more commonplace in the U.S., it behooves us as mediators to do what we can to ensure party safety in mediation. One way to ensure that no one brings […]

How Active Should a Mediator Be in Pushing for Resolution?

The panel of mediation experts who addressed this question in an ADR Section-sponsored phone conference today concluded, “It depends.” The more parties trust the mediator, the more the mediator can push without appearing “pushy.” From a legal perspective, mediators can be as pushy, or coercive, as they want to be, without repercussion. Prof. James Coben of […]


I don’t usually write about my mediations, in order to protect their confidentiality. But this one is too rich not to share. (Some identifying details have been changed.) A business dispute resulted in a small claims action that went to mediation through our local Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan. After each side told their […]

Mediation to Address Church Bell Dispute

Neighbors of a church in Burlington, Vermont, have agreed to go to mediation with representatives from Christ the King Catholic Church over the issue of the church’s bells. The neighbors complained to the City about the church bells, wondering whether the ringing violated the City’s noise ordinance. The Assistant City Attorney, Gregg Meyer, is quoted […]

Agreement in Principle Not Enforceable

Michigan’s Court of Appeals decided this week that a mediation agreement was too vague to be enforceable. It’s not unusual for a mediation to end with a hand-written document that contemplates another document to finally settle the dispute. In fact, it’s fairly common for the mediation of a litigated case, where parties are represented by […]


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