Sunday, September 16, 2007

Attention mediators: proposals still sought for April 2008 conference of the Dispute Resolution Section of the ABA

Proposals sought for ABA Section on Dispute Resolution conference in Spring 2008The Dispute Resolution Section of the American Bar Association (ABA) and the NW Dispute Resolution Conference will be presenting the Tenth Annual Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference on April 3-5, 2008 at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel, Seattle, WA.

Although the official date for proposals has passed, RFPs are still being sought. The closing date has been extended through Wednesday, September 19, 2007. Please consider submitting a proposal for this conference, which presents a great opportunity to meet and network with fellow ADR professionals, as well as to share your ideas and experiences with a broad audience.

The Conference Committee is particularly interested in receiving proposals in specialized contexts such as business, health care, insurance, entertainment, intellectual property, contruction, etc. Also of great interest are proposals in the areas of Practice Diversity and Development, Representing Clients in ADR, Government Public Policy, and Environment. Finally, interactive, skill-based workshops are being sought in the Family, Youth, and Community tracks, as well as others.

The ABA site for submitting proposals online is now closed, but it can still be done via email. Interested applicants should contact Nancy Highness at 206.399.1805 for further

By all means, please pass this information to others who might be interested.

The Conference Planning Committee asks me to pass along their appreciation!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Art of the Dispute": American Express ad campaign touts benefits of dispute resolution

American Express ad campaign - The Art of the DisputeA member of a group I'm working with to develop a logo and marketing slogan for court-connected dispute resolution services just sent us all a link to "The Art of the Dispute", an American Express ad that's been airing during the U.S. Open.

Starring former tennis professional John McEnroe, remembered not only for his virtuosity on the tennis courts but also for his fearsome temper, the ad lauds the advantages of American Express cardmember dispute resolution services.

You can view either the commercial or a lengthier video clip. It's a clever ad, regardless of what you may think about either McEnroe or American Express--and no matter what, it doesn't hurt the mediation field that dispute resolution -- with its promise of "less arguing" -- gets placed squarely in front of the attention of the television-viewing public.

Free stuff online to help ADR professionals run their businesses

Freebies online for the entrepreneurOne of the greatest things about the web is the amount of free stuff out there to help any small business owner, well, take care of business.

Thanks to the Canadian legal research and IT blog Slaw, I just learned about 100 free (or really, really cheap) products and services ideal for the entrepreneur launching a business on a shoestring.

You can browse The Poor Entrepreneur's Toolset: 100 Freebies for Boostrappers at the Bootstrapper blog.

(Photo credit: Leea Gilmour.), world's top mediation site, celebrates 200th newsletter the number one mediation web site and news resourceToday, the world's premier mediation site, posts its 200th newsletter.

Not only is a web site that I visit frequently to research information on topics in ADR, but it's also the one that I recommend first to my mediation students and to anyone interested in understanding more about mediation, conflict resolution, and negotiation.

As a blogger I am also deeply grateful that reached out to embrace bloggers at the beginning of this year through the launch of its " Featured Blogs" section. is not only a dependably top-quality resource, it is also a good cyber-neighbor.

Congratulations, Here's to 200 more.

News roundup for mediators | September 6, 2007

News roundup for mediatorsThis week's mediator link-fest includes the following headlines:

"Attributing Blame — from the Baseball Diamond to the War on Terror", from The Situationist, examines the ways in which we attribute blame and draw inferences about the motivation of others when bad stuff happens.

Cognitive Daily offers "Insight into how children learn cultural values", and also explains "Why we are blind to some changes but not others".

Neuromarketing, a blog I've recently discovered, takes a look at decision making in "Want" vs. "Should" - It’s All in The Timing".

The Executive Assistant's Tool Box explains "How to Speak Your Mind (and Keep Your Job)", while Lawsagna discusses "Three Kinds of Empathy".

Workplace bullying is getting plenty of attention this week. Thoughts from a Management Lawyer describes the results of the U.S. Workplace Bullying Survey 2007 (in PDF) in "Workplace Bullying is Widespread". And Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life has advice on "How to Deal with a Workplace Bully".

Finally, the secret's out: everyone's talking about mediator-blogger Geoff Sharp's "40 sites in 40 minutes", a whirlwind tour of Geoff's favorite stops in the ADR cyber-neighborhood.

(Thanks, Geoff, by the way, for including Online Guide to Mediation on your list.)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Art education may help prepare future lawyers (and mediators)

Art teaches habits necessary for adult work lifeEducators and parents have long accepted the notion that introducing children to art fosters creativity, builds cultural literacy, and makes for well-rounded human beings.

Art education however may in fact achieve far more than that: namely, help children develop important skills and habits necessary to the work they will ultimately do as adults, according to a recent study described in a Boston Globe article, "Art for our sake: School arts classes matter more than ever - but not for the reasons you think". Two researchers with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ellen Winner and Lois Hetland, describe the surprising results of their study and the implications they hold for the future of education.

They discovered that art teaches children key "studio habits of mind", including persistence, expression, and the ability to make clear connections "between schoolwork and the world outside the classroom"--in other words, to see real-world applications for the lessons learned in class.

Researchers noticed something important at the very beginning:
The first thing we noticed was that visual arts students are trained to look, a task far more complex than one might think. Seeing is framed by expectation, and expectation often gets in the way of perceiving the world accurately. To take a simple example: When asked to draw a human face, most people will set the eyes near the top of the head. But this isn't how a face is really proportioned, as students learn: our eyes divide the head nearly at the center line. ... Observational drawing requires breaking away from stereotypes and seeing accurately and directly...

Seeing clearly by looking past one's preconceptions is central to a variety of professions, from medicine to law [emphasis added]. Naturalists must be able to tell one species from another; climatologists need to see atmospheric patterns in data as well as in clouds. Writers need keen observational skills too, as do doctors.
The authors conclude:
For students living in a rapidly changing world, the arts teach vital modes of seeing, imagining, inventing, and thinking. If our primary demand of students is that they recall established facts, the children we educate today will find themselves ill-equipped to deal with problems like global warming, terrorism, and pandemics.

Those who have learned the lessons of the arts, however - how to see new patterns, how to learn from mistakes, and how to envision solutions - are the ones likely to come up with the novel answers needed most for the future.
How well did your own education prepare you to master those habits?

(Photo credit: Carlos Paes.)

Special Labor Day edition of Blawg Review covers history of American labor

Blawg Review salutes Labor DayLabor Day here in the United States is associated far more with back-to-school sales, political campaigning, and backyard barbecues than it is with its original purpose--a day to honor workers.

This week's Blawg Review, the weekly review of legal blogging, pays homage to the roots of Labor Day in an epic style befitting its theme. Host George Lenard, an employment lawyer who publishes the eponymous George's Employment Blawg, recounts the history of American labor, weaving in a week's worth of blog posts together with personal anecdotes, archival images, and videos, and presents it in 14 parts in Blawg Review #124.

This opus magnum, meticulously assembled and imaginatively constructed, is a true labor of love. It is also perhaps the best presentation of Blawg Review of all time.

Don't miss it.