Thoughts on construction law from Christopher G. Hill, Virginia construction lawyer, LEED AP, mediator, and member of the Virginia Legal Elite in Construction Law

A Great How To on Mediation Practice (UPDATED)

Originally posted 2012-03-26 09:00:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

by Victoria PynchonAs regular readers of Construction Law Musings are aware, I just recently completed my training and mentor-ship for certification to practice mediation in the Virginia General District Courts. As a construction litigator, I have found that mediation can be extremely helpful in resolving construction disputes, particularly commercial construction disputes. Now I’ve decided to try and be the one helping resolve these from a mediator perspective (one that is quite different from that of advocate and courtroom battler).Thankfully, in the course of my practice growth I have met many friends and folks that have helped me on the way. Luckily for me, one of these is Victoria Pynchon (@mediatesuccess). Vickie is a five time Guest Post Friday contributor and a person I’ve bugged occasionally on issues of mediation and becoming a mediator. I was also honored to get a “blurb” (along with Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister of all people) in her first great book that I reviewed when it came out in 2010. Needless to say, I was thrilled to find out that Vickie had worked on a book in the ever growing “Dummies” series (Success as a Mediator for Dummies) that fits me to a tee (insert your wry humor here) and is now on my Kindle for easy access.

With my new foray into the world as a mediator, I am of course looking for all of the practical guidance that I can get. While the satisfaction of helping people resolve their disputes will be a reward in itself, I would like to make this a larger part of my construction counseling practice. Vickie’s new book gives great practical advice on everything from various techniques of mediation (facilitative, evaluative and the like) to ways to make money as a mediator.

Where her prior book gave great anecdotes and stories to illustrate conflict resolution in a more general sense, her new “Dummies” book is focused exclusively on the practice of mediation. Like the other books in the “Dummies” series, it starts with a great overview and outline of the various chapters and moves forward in a manner that allows a reader like me to read it cover to cover or to find just what I’m looking for. As a newly minted mediator, the book gives me a great perspective on the future possibilities as well as giving real life ideas that I may not have thought of. I recommend it for anyone dipping a toe into the mediator pool.

That’s not to say that I don’t think it will help the seasoned mediator (or litigator for that matter). Many of the tips point out impasse breaking strategies aside from locking the parties in a room until they agree. Many of these tips give some great “outside the box” ideas to get the most recalcitrant parties to see the value of a settlement. The more “arrows” in the quiver of any mediator (new or old), the better in my thinking.

In short, if you are at all interested in mediation from either the advocate’s or the mediator’s perspective there is something in this book that will help you out.

UPDATE: I have in fact opened a mediation practice and encourage you to contact me if you need assistance with this great process. Vickie’s books have helped me out immensely.

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3 Responses to A Great How To on Mediation Practice (UPDATED)

  1. Congrats on becoming a certified mediator. Every mediator I meet loves the work.

    I considered it, but for now stick with litigation (I’m fairly junior counsel). In our neck of the words (British Columbia) mediation is almost always court-order in certain practice areas which resulted in a huge demand for mediators. Also, in some practice areas one party can force a mediation.

    Overall mediation is an excellent step in the litigation process (or pre-litigation). It’s best when clients retain some control and of course it minimizes fees for clients as well.

    Good luck with the new endeavor.
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