Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mediation and Mario Cuomo

I was pleased to see that Mario Cuomo was appointed the mediator in the Madoff/ Mets case. See follow up article in February 19, 2011 New York Times at Articles like this make the public more aware of mediation as an option to settle disputes. This is very necessary if mediation is ever going to an option equivalent to or better than litigation. The measure of success will be when mediation is chosen before litigation and not after litigation has started. The article highlights the issue of what is a mediator, although not by name. The style of mediation often confuses potential users of mediation. See my July 24, 2010 Blog on Styles of Mediation which discusses facilitative, evaluative, and transformative mediation. Parties should always be aware of the style of their mediator. Cuomo like most lawyers who have not been trained by programs approved by the Academy of Family Mediation and its successor the Association for Conflict Resolution is an evaluative mediator who uses power mediation to settle cases. As the article says, Cuomo is a skilled problem-solver, not a neutral mediator. He is intuitive enough to come up with interesting solutions.
The article also importantly points out that mediators cannot force the parties to settle. This is both a weakness and a strength. It makes it hard to resolve the case but makes for a more lasting and satisfying settlement. As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM (209 ) 3/5/11

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