American Bar Association
Task Force on Mediation Quality

Task Force on Mediation Quality

Who We Are

The ABA Section on Dispute Resolution's Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality was formed to investigate certain aspects of mediation quality.

Committee Updates

The Task Force on Improving Mediation Quality Final Report

For the Full Report click the icon below

Congratulating the Task Force on the culmination of its project, Section Chair Larry Mills observed: "The Report collects interesting empirical information from users of mediation services, presents a nuanced discussion of mediation practices, and identifies the most important elements of high quality, successful mediations. I want to commend particularly the Task Force Co-Chairs, Wayne Thorpe and Rachel Wohl, for their effective leadership and extraordinary commitment to making the Task Force Report comprehensive and useful. The Task Force can be proud of its accomplishments and for pointing the way to further improvements in mediation through the recommendation of follow-up projects, including user guides, training, further study and shared experiences."

Task Force Co-chair Wayne Thorpe, a mediator with JAMS in Atlanta, described the Task Force work this way: "Many mediators and users are fully familiar with the basic concepts that form the main focus of our Report: Mediation preparation, case-by-case customization, analytical techniques, and mediator persistence, but the Task Force's focus group discussions revealed that many users are dissatisfied with existing mediation practice as it relates to those topics. Recognizing that these topics cannot be covered by bright line, right/wrong descriptions, the Report recommends multiple considerations for mediators, parties and lawyers to incorporate into their mediation practice."

The Task Force determined to focus its work principally on mediation conducted in the context of civil cases in which parties were represented by counsel based upon the belief that this focus would inform it about quality issues in a narrow, reasonably well developed mediation practice area.

Co-chair Rachel Wohl, Executive Director of Maryland's Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office, said, "It was interesting to note that many of the commercial lawyers we spoke with, who frequently use mediation, have developed such sophisticated levels of understanding, that they give advice to their mediators about how to structure the mediation process to suit the needs of particular cases. Most of these same lawyers voiced very high expectations of mediators, seeking not only those who are highly skilled and knowledgeable, but also those who are intuitive and able to help meet their clients' emotional needs. Although the Task Force faced logistical and substantive challenges, working collaboratively with Task Force members to meet them has been a very rewarding experience."

The Task Force is hopeful that this Report as well as the identified follow-up projects can show the way to great improvement in mediation quality, especially in the four focus areas of preparation, customization, analytical techniques, and persistence. The Task Force encourages all Section members to participate in this important work by becoming involved in the follow-up projects.

Members of the Task Force are as follows:

Wayne Thorpe, Co-Chair
Rachel Wohl, Co-Chair
Phillip Armstrong
John Bickerman (ex-officio)
Lisa Blomgren Bingham
Kathy Bryan
John Buchanan
Everette Doffermyre
Amy J. Glass
Howard Herman
David Hoffman (ex-officio)
Homer LaRue
John Lande
Deborah Masucci
Linda Toyo Obayashi
Charles Pou
Susan Yates
Leila Taaffe

Related Products


    Committee Roster  

    Tool Kit Documents

    Pamphlet with Considerations for Civil Mediators

    Other Resources of Interest

    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 ...

    Modified by Gina Viola Brown on November 16, 2010

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