American Bar Association


Our Vision

The Mediation Committee of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution strives to serve as a resource for practitioners, the public, and students of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) with an emphasis of mediation. Though diverse and under a large umbrella, mediation serves the interests of stake-holders unlike any other dispute resolution mechanism as it focuses on understanding, collaboration, and self-determination. Our goal is to promote mediation education, enhance the public's understanding of mediation, improve mediator and mediation advocate skills, and increase opportunities for mediation's benefits to be realized. We hope you will join us, and share your thoughts, experiences and insights.

Committee Updates

Seeking Mediation-Related Entries for Just Resolutions e-Newsletter!

The Mediation Committee is now accepting mediation-related submissions for the Section of Dispute Resolution’s e-Newsletter which will be published in October. The priority submission date is Friday, July 1st. Please email to There is no word-count requirement and those articles selected for publication will be notified in early September.

Please note: previously published articles are permissible assuming the copyright owner consents.

Thank you in advance for sharing your contributions – we look forward to receiving your submissions!


Attention all Mediators: There are 18 mediation-track programs taking place at the 18th Annual Spring Conference in New York City April 7th-9th. So if you want to immerse yourself in a world of ADR expertise, develop invaluable skills to better your practice, enjoy unlimited opportunities to network with some of the leading ADR scholars and practitioners in the world and earn CLE credits too, come join us. Click on the hyperlink to the Conference right now:

Take advantage of the early bird deadline. It ends February 19th. And below is a full list of mediation-track programs. I put our co-chairs programs first. This is afterall the Mediation Committee’s website.

See you in New York!


Chair of the Mediation Committee’s Social Media and Visibility Subcommittee who is actively looking for subcommittee members. Just pop me an email and let’s talk:

Reflective Practitioner Groups - A Boost to Your Mediation Practice

So much of what we do as mediators consists of being attuned to the other participants, parties and counsel. We don't always pay enough attention -- either in the moment or afterward -- to our own experience of the mediation. That can leave us feeling unsure of the impact we have had, for good or for ill, and uneasy about whether we have used our skills effectively. Reflective practitioner groups give mediators an opportunity to reflect on their practice in the company of insightful and supportive colleagues. Come explore three group models: the formal California District Court model, the less formal D.C. Circuit model, and the U.S. Circuit Court’s telephone model. And bring a buddy with you so that, on your return, the two of you can develop and implement a model that works in your real world. Richard B. Lord, Orlando, FL, United States Amy Wind, DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Washington, DC, United States Joel Shapiro, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Chicago, IL, United States G. Daniel Bowling, Curtis and Bowling Mediation, Sausalito, CA, United States

Want To Be An Even More Effective Negotiator and Mediator?

Develop Consultative Selling Skills Selling and Negotiating require many of the same skills. But, while there have been very few scientific studies of negotiation skills, selling skills have been extensively studied. Come learn from Neil Rackham, the progenitor of the largest empirical study of consultative selling skills ever carried out, exactly how consultative selling works. This study measured successful communication behaviors of 10,000 sales people on more than 35,000 sales calls all around the world. Learn also from Ava Abramowitz, a mediator and GW Law School instructor of negotiations, how practitioners can use the study to improve their negotiation and mediation skills. Ava Abramowitz, GW Law School, Washington, DC, United States Neil Rackham, Leesburg, VA, United States

Transforming Impasse From Problem Into Opportunity

This workshop looks at the ways professionals can unwittingly contribute to impasse by framing it as a problem to be (quickly) fixed, rather than an opportunity to be explored. We will examine the paradigm shift and skills required to decode and work with the encrypted messages hidden in every impasse. Stephen Sulmeyer, Corte Madera, CA, United States

Is Your ADR Safe? Reducing the Risk of Violence Before, During and After Sessions

Many ADR professionals saw the headlines when an angry mediation participant shot two other participants (an attorney and client) outside a Phoenix law firm in 2013. That tragedy is probably the most extreme recent example of violence in connection with an ADR process, but unfortunately it is not unique. In response to this concern, the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) developed guidance on how to promote the safety of ADR practitioners and participants. In this session, two of the individuals who drafted the ACR guidance will discuss key safety advice and lead an interactive discussion of how to implement it. Stephen Kotev,, Silver Spring, MD, United States Susan Yates, Resolution Systems Institute, Chicago, IL, United States

Natural Allies--The Mediator and the Ombuds Shared Lessons and Opportunities for Collaboration

This program, presented by experienced mediators and ombuds, will discuss the similarities, differences and complimentary roles of mediators and ombuds. It will include a comparison of the role of mediation and mediation techniques with the role and approaches used by ombuds within conflict management systems. It is designed to inform mediators about ombuds programs to help them better understand what ombuds do and to equip them to advocate for the creation of ombuds programs where appropriate. Charles Howard, Shipman & Goodwin LLP, Hartford, CT, United States Natalie Fleury, Milwaukee, WI, United States Caroline Adams, Santa Barbara, CA, United States Michael Steinberg, New York City, NY, United States Janis Schonauer, Costa Mesa, CA, United States

First Demands and First Offers---Striving for a Solid Start The Impact of Initial Offers/Demands on the Distributive Bargaining Process

The likelihood of a dispute resolving for either the plaintiff's first demand or the defendant's first offer is almost non-existent. Accordingly little if any importance is usually assigned to either of these starting positions. This session will explore the reasoning behind why initial offers and demands can be of profound significance in the pursuit of achieving resolution through the distributive bargaining process. Lee Jacobson, Jacobson Hansen and McQuillan, Attorneys at Law, APC, Fresno, CA, United States Elaine Gordon, Gordon ADR, Westbrook, CT, United States Jan Schau, Schau Mediation, Los Angeles, CA, United States Eugene Moscovitch, Judicate West, Los Angeles, CA, United States

Checkmate: Early Moves Define Negotiation Outcomes Negotiation Patterns Follow Predictable Social Conventions

Chess grandmasters report that while a match may last hours, the board is set in the first few moves. Players send strategic signals early and then work for hours to implement their plan while taking account of, but not being controlled by, their opponent's moves. They relentlessly run their plan. Effective negotiators also send strong signals in their first few moves. Come discuss why our emphasis should be on the concessions between the first and second (and second and third) rounds. Closing techniques are great, but no amount of frosting will save an unbaked cake. Don Philbin, Picture It Settled, LLC, San Antonio, TX, United States Cari Wint, Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York, NY, United States

Appellate Mediation Toolbox An Experiential Workshop in Appellate Case Evaluation and Sound Decision-Making

In this interactive workshop, Brendon Ishikawa and Dana Curtis, authors of Appellate Mediation: A Guidebook for Mediators and Appellate Attorneys, will explore why appeals challenge the best mediators and demonstrate how both interest-based and case evaluation discussions help parties get unstuck. Participants will learn tools to help myopic parties to escape their litigation-obsessed tunnel vision and to act in their best interests: *A framework for appellate case analysis that results in self-persuasion and clear-sightedness *An approach (and worksheets) to assist parties to overcome their biases *Methods to refocus litigation-obsessed parties on their interests (These tools translate to civil trial mediation.) Dana Curtis, Dana Curtis Mediation, Sausalito, CA, United States Brendon Ishikawa, Davis, CA, United States

Legal Mediations are not only about Money: Mediators and Advocates as Problem Solvers Discussion by Experienced Mediators

Has mediation morphed into just one more step in the litigation process and is no more than a private settlement conference? Are their creative options that are lost and invisible barriers missed by advocates and mediators? This panel will probe areas where opportunities can be created to break out of the usual legal battle mold. The panel consists of preeminent full-time mediators who have seen it all (or mostly so anyhow) and are Distinguished Fellows in the International Academy of Mediators. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Hal Abramson, IAM's Scholar-in-Residence. Hal Abramson, Touro Law Center, New York, NY, United States Jerome Weiss, Mediation Inc, Cleveland, OH, United States Birgit Sambeth Glasner, Altenburger LTD legal+tax, Geneva, Switzerland, Switzerland Bennett Picker, Philadelphia, PA, United States Susan Hammer, Dispute Resolution Services, Portland, OR, United States

UNCITRAL (UN) Treaty Drafting Initiative: Cross-Border Enforcement of Mediated Settlement Agreements

This panel discussion will bring participants up to date on the UNCITRAL process that has generated much debate among the UN delegations regarding whether there is a need for a treaty comparable to the NY Convention for enforcing arbitration awards, and what should be its key features. The substantive debate has focused on ways to serve the twin goals of fairly facilitating enforcement while not hampering the flexibility and benefits of mediation. The panel will feature James Castello, member of US Delegation and other Delegation and NGO representatives who have been participating in meetings in NY and Vienna. Hal Abramson, Touro Law Center, New York, NY, United States James Castello, King & Spalding, Paris, France Deborah Masucci, International Mediation Institute, Brooklyn, NY, United States EL AHDAB Jalal (Jil) , GMPV, Paris, France Ximena Bustamante, Procuraduria General del Estado, Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

Developing Cultural Competence in Mediation

In today’s world of increasing globalization, mediations bring together parties, counsel and mediators from different countries and backgrounds. Inevitably, the participants bring to the mediation world views, expectations and values that are shaped by their national, regional or organizational culture. While it is increasingly recognized that such cross-cultural differences contribute to the complexity of mediation, the objective of this presentation is to move beyond this starting point to provide mediators not only with practical insights into how these differences might be understood but also specific practice tips on how to manage such cultural differences. Michele Riley, Columbia University, International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution, New York, NY, United States Stephanie Stobbe, Menno Simons College at University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Manitoba Lilian Vargas, Fundacion Instituto de Mediation (FIMe), Resistencia, Chaco, Argentina

Case Evaluation Discussions in Civil Court Mediation How to Facilitate Inherently Evaluative Discussions

The negotiation of the settlement of civil litigation often takes the form of positional bargaining in which the parties try to realize the value of their case as they know it. When the parties become locked in their positions, it has become commonplace for civil court mediators to slip into the role of neutral evaluator to help their clients bridge the gap between their positions. This session explores a more facilitative approach to helping the parties evaluate their case, principally by the use of well framed and well placed questions. Andy Little, Mediation, Inc, Chapel Hill, NC, United States

It's Only Money How to Settle Insurance Claims.

An interactive discussion of how insurance claims are settled: Consideration of the players involved, the claimant(s), the attorney(s), the insurance company representatives. Unique situations in connection with resolution of insurance claims. Geographic limitations, cultural limitations or differences between the venue and the location of the insurance company/adjuster. Strategies developed by claimants, by the insurance company/adjuster. Critical Paths of the Insured Dispute. Issues between Insurance Company and Insured, how does that affect the claimant's claim and potential resolution of the 'underlying' dispute. How to overcome obstacles to resolution as perceived by claimant/insured/insurer. How to address the ethical concerns between the insurer and insured. Sheryl Goski, Law Offices Sheryl Mintz Goski, Esq., Hoboken, NJ, United States Bonnie Goldsamt, Verona, NJ, United States Thomas Quinn, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, Florham Park, NJ, United States

The Contribution of Experts to Mediation

This highly interactive session will explore the positive contributions experts can bring to mediation success. The panel of accomplished experts, advocates, and neutrals will provide practical suggestions and helpful opportunities to best employ experts in bringing even the most difficult disputes to resolution. Roger M. Deitz, New York, NY, United States

What Works in Mediation? A Community Townhall Sharing Our Stories of War, Peace, and Empirical Research

This community townhall session is an opportunity for the whole Section to come together and discuss: what works in mediation? Mediators, attorneys, trainers, educators, researchers, and court ADR administrators all bring different, valuable perspectives to answer this question, though rarely have the opportunity to compare notes. Townhall organizers will pose questions, elicit audience participation and feedback, and discuss recent empirical data about specific mediator interventions and what mediation participants want from a mediator. The goal of the townhall is to build community within the Section, exchange information about current practices, and inform the future of our field. Lydia Nussbaum, UNLV Boyd School of Law, Las Vegas, NV, United States Doug Frenkel, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, PA, United States Alyson Carrel, Northwestern Law, Chicago, IL, United States Art Hinshaw, AZ, United States Deborah Thompson Eisenberg, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, Baltimore, MD, United States Kelly Browe Olson, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR Mediation Confidentiality, California Style Howard Herman, U.S. District Court, N.D. Calif., San Francisco, CA

ABA DR Fellows - Bringing the Practice to the People A “Year in Review”

In this 90 minute presentation, each of the five inaugural ABA DR Fellows will discuss how the Fellowship has allowed them to bring the practice of dispute resolution to society at-large i.e., “the people.” Michael Aurit, Phoenix, AZ, United States Brittney Alls, Columbia, SC, United States Bryan J. Branon, Burlington, VT, United States Jory Canfield, Los Angeles, CA, United States Brian Farkas, New York, NY, United States

Opportunities for Involvement

Do you want to shape the future of mediation? How about learn how to become a better mediator? Would you like to enhance your skills as an advocate in the process? Do you have experience and ideas to help those who share an interest in or a career dedicated to mediation? Is mediation not your core focus, but an adjunct to how you serve others? Have you written about or spoken on mediation? Would you like to promote knowledge and acceptance of mediation and increase utilization of it? If you answer "yes" to any of the above, we hope you will consider joining our committee. Once you are a member, your active involvement is invited. We also actively seek opportunities to collaborate with other committees within the Section. Whether you are seasoned or consider yourself a beginner, we can benefit from your involvement. Opportunities for involvement include, but are not limited to: Mediation Week support; member education via monthly teleconferences and webinars; mediator evaluation; developing international cultural competence; production of the October edition of "Just Resolutions" eNews; a joint edition of "Just Resolutions" with the Ethics Committee; mediation advocacy skills education; an examination of ADR session safety; and a review of current ABA mediation guides.


As a member of the Mediation Committee, you are encouraged to participate in monthly teleconferences which are intended to serve as a means for our membership to stay connected, find opportunities for engagement in committee activities and learn from one another. Meeting notices are provided primarily through the committee listserv. To receive notices, make sure your member profile preferences allow committee and Section communications. Some committee meetings serve as educational opportunities. Past topics have included: the no-caucus approach to mediation; and ADR session safety.

Join Us



Abramowitz, Ava
Lord, Richard

Committee Roster  

Programs, Meetings and Events

Section Events

    Closing the Deal: Getting to Yes (and Evading No!)


    Program Description : The end of the day is the most challenging part of mediation. The speakers will reveal creative mediator techniques to break through impasse as well as proven strategies for use by counsel to build durable agreements. The speakers will also address documentation of the ...

    Sealing the Deal: Issues and Tactics


    Program Description : Once you have reached a deal in principle, there are still pitfalls before you are done. Any skilled negotiator has to know how to close. Listen in for practical advice on how to manage end of deal tactics. Learn how to avoid those end of deal maneuvers that ...

    Ethics and Professionalism in Mediation: Ethical Issues Faced by Mediators and Advocates


    Program Description : The panel will share advice on how to recognize and solve potential ethical issues in the mediation process. How do advocates walk the fine line between puffery and lying? How do mediators move from a conceptual understanding of the Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators ...

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Modified by Bryan Branon on April 4, 2016

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