Friday, September 22, 2006

Thanks for completing Online Guide to Mediation's Reader Survey

Thanks for completing the reader surveyMany, many thanks to readers who were kind enough to respond to my recent survey. I greatly appreciated your thoughtful comments and suggestions.

I was happy to learn that there’s much here at Online Guide to Mediation that you like. Most of you enjoy the eclectic range of topics covered here, which was nice to know. Someone even asked me for a date for last Friday night, but that turned out to be my husband. (You know it's time to adjust the work-life balance thing when desperation drives your spouse to communicate with you via an online survey.)

Your suggestions for changes or improvement included:
  • More coverage of topics related to ADR in employment and business contexts

  • More coverage of ADR and technology

  • More links and resources for ADR practitioners, particularly for educators and students

  • More articles that examine the social and cultural implications of ADR

  • Greater exploration of the influence and impact that lawyers and the law, together with ADR, each bring to bear on the other

  • Less emphasis on lawyers and legal issues in ADR
I will do my best to be responsive to these ideas. It was helpful for me to know what you need.

I do, however, want to speak to that last suggestion. My friend Tammy Lenski wrote an eloquent post on the professional mediator and asked that once and for all we dispense with the terms "attorney-mediator" and "non-attorney mediator" because of the degree to which those terms marginalize fellow members of our own profession or devalue those who are not lawyers. She proposed a new nomenclature: that we call ourselves instead "professional mediators". I agree.

In writing this blog I similarly do not want to marginalize or alienate those of you who come from a field that is different from mine. Many of my readers do. Many share my professional background. But all of us come from a vast range of personal and professional backgrounds. We all bring a lot to this table that is the Web.

My hope is that this blog offers something for everyone. I envisioned it as a kind of smorgasbord of ideas relating to ADR, allowing readers to heap their plates with what appeals and skipping over those offerings which are not to their taste. Some of you, I hope, have been tempted to sample new or unaccustomed flavors just to say that you've tried it once.

However, I am not just a mediator. I’m also an attorney. My training and my work -- both kinds -- influence my writing, color and flavor my ideas and the ways in which I express them. The law is an integral part of me. It casts its long shadow over much of the work that I do as a mediator. It is implicit in the phrase "alternative dispute resolution", since it is the thing that mediation serves as an alternative to.

I am, I suppose, a chimera. I identify myself as both law blogger and ADR blogger. In my writing and my work, I straddle two worlds--two worlds which I have tried to reconcile and bring together here.

Therefore, I must apologize in advance to anyone who requested less emphasis on legal issues. I try to ensure that my posts on ADR outweigh my posts on the law, but often it is not possible to speak of one without the other. I heard your concern, and I am grateful that you raised it. And I hope you will understand why for me, someone who is both an attorney and a mediator, I cannot abandon the subject--for me, in fact, the life--of the law altogether. It is what I hope makes my voice unique.

Of course if any of you have specific suggestions for topics, or have discovered a web site or online resources you’d like me to post about, let me know. (And of course I’ll credit you if I’m able to use the lead you provide.)

Thank you again. And please remember, your comments are always welcome.