USA&M

Latest from USA&M

Working from home presents some brand-new challenges:  your spouse is with you 24-7; your kids are home and attending school online; and you cannot leave the confines of your home.  So, this creates an opportunity to mediate some home-bound issues. 1.         What do we watch on TV?  Imagine a lovely evening with your family sharing the experience of watching a film; this is a fantasy of mine because we cannot agree on a movie.  I struggle with the violent films the men here like and they dislike the lighter rom-coms or Jane Austen-ish movies I watch.  The easy mediated solution is to separate and choose to…
We are soooooooooo dependent upon our technology during this pandemic. Most of my communication with co-workers and attorney-colleagues is through email and text. Even phone calls with my smart phone (which sometimes seems too smart… like creepy smart) have become complicated when I use my Bluetooth earpiece and it seizes the call whether I want it to or not. At my house, I play music using “Hey Google” and I joke that you need an Engineering degree to turn on the television. Just like the rest of the world, mediation and arbitration have become even more dependent upon technology during…
Starbucks holds a special place in my heart; I am a regular coffee drinker and by now my local store knows not only my name, but also my dog’s name.  The other day I was in line ready to order and overheard the customer in front of me laughing about her magic Starbucks card that showed a $0.18 balance but just keeps on working.  She used her magic card to pay and stepped off to the side to wait for her order.  Before I could mutter “Grande Cappuccino with Skim Milk,” my barista informed me their system was acting up and I could…
Med-Arb!  The worst nickname ever … or maybe the best nickname ever because it quickly informs the reader of the basic concept.  Never fear, I have completed numerous med-arbs (one of the few mediators who actually has) and there are good reasons to use med-arb. So, what is this strange creature?  Med-Arb uses the same Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) professional to act as both mediator, and if mediation is unsuccessful, to serve as an arbitrator.  Clients love this concept, especially its efficiency.  Time is money and med-arb takes advantage of saved time in educating only one ADR professional about the dispute.  I remember in a…
Have you visited Disney World lately?  I just returned from a family vacation to the Magic Kingdom and I had such a strong sense of pleasure wandering from one favorite attraction to the next.  Flying with Peter Pan, floating on the boats of “It’s a Small World” as the song becomes stuck in my mind and walking down Main Street peeking in the windows.  I was not alone; there were plenty of other adults, unaccompanied by any kids, meandering from ride to ride. Why?  Why do we love Disney World?  For me, it is the sameness.  I visited Disney as a kid, returned with my kids…
Can you mediate with pro se parties … meaningfully? 40% of State Court litigants are pro se.  (“Pro se” means individuals or corporations who do not hire an attorney to represent them in the dispute)  20% of federal court litigants are pro se.  Staggeringly high numbers, right? I mediate cases with pro se parties and, while some of my colleagues will not, I will.  Pro se parties want and need to participate in mediation; it is part of the larger system of justice in our country so I accept mediations directly with the parties.  However, my first comment to the pro se parties is that…
The US Women’s Soccer Team is fighting (and winning) two battles right now:  in France they are running and kicking a soccer ball with the most elite female players from around the world*; and in federal court in LA they are suing the US Soccer Federation for paying them less than the men’s team and providing inferior training and facilities.  Last Friday, both sides to the lawsuit announced they would use mediationto resolve the dispute.  (No mention was made of who the mediator will be, but yours truly is offering her mediator services!)  This is dramatic and so encouraging to all of us who practice…
What is this?  It has a nifty acronym (ENE) but what’s all the fuss? The attention is because the federal court in St. Louis is now using ENE in selected cases and, just as important, ENE really works. Here is the quick take:  ENE provides for a neutral to give all parties an evaluation at the beginning of an ADR session.  The evaluation can be in writing or verbal and it can be delivered jointly or separately in caucus.  Thereafter, the parties can chart their own course in reacting to the evaluation. Most mediators make some sort of evaluation of the case and share some,…
You must listen to these podcasts!!!  Attorneys Gary Burger and Debbie Champion record a podcast entitled “Lawyer v Lawyer” and recently I was a guest discussing how to be effective in mediation.  There are three podcasts in total and I have included links to all three. The podcasts are so good and contain some of the best tips I know for succeeding in mediation.   Hopefully we can even get you to laugh a few times too, so check it out! https://burgerlaw.com/podcast/mediation/https://burgerlaw.com/podcast/advanced-mediation/https://burgerlaw.com/podcast/amazing-mediation-tricks/
My beloved hiking boots–I wore them hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and I treasure these boots and the trails we covered together.  But they also symbolize what happens to all of us at a mediation.  Many times mediation is a long, hard, uphill slog through the snow, mud and rocks.  Mediation can seem interminable; an all-uphill hike filled with false hopes that the end is just around the corner.  Ah, but that feeling at the end of a case when the mediation succeeds is well worth it. I was reminded of the slog after reading a recent…
The #METOO movement spawned greater awareness of sexual harassment and new laws in several States.  Illinois reacted to #METOO in Public Act 100-588 by creating a “Helpline” for persons experiencing harassment or discrimination in the workplace or housing.  See:  http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/100/100-0588.htm The Helpline is up and running at 1 (877) 236-7703 or https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/sexualharassment/Pages/default.aspx so check it out.  I like the idea of a Helpline; if done properly, it can give accurate answers quickly and point the caller in the right direction for their next step.   In my 33 years of practicing law, I have represented individuals who experienced sexual…