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New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer

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Transparency is fast becoming the buzzword of mediation. Part of that transparency includes the ethical obligation of mediators to disclose in a meaningful and comprehensible way precisely how that mediator will conduct the mediation. Yes, mediation consumers have an ethical right to such information so that they may then make informed decisions about which mediator to select. Isn’t that what the long-held mediation tenets of consent and self-determination are all about? Legitimizing this ethical entitlement, the revised 2005 Model Standards for Mediators guides:

A mediator shall conduct a mediation based on the principle of self-determination. Self-determination is the act of coming to a voluntary uncoerced decision in which each party makes free and informed choices as to process and outcome. Parties may exercise self-determination at any stage of mediation, including mediator selection [italics added for emphasis], process design, participation in or withdrawal from the process, and outcomes.

Mediators, what do you tell your clients about your mediation style prior to beginning a mediation? Advocates, what do you and your clients really know about a potential mediator’s style before selecting that mediator? What information should mediators disclose about their mediation style in their oral and written mediation communications so that mediators comport with this ethical mandate? As we shall see, the devil lies in the detail.


Reprinted with permission from the New York State Bar Association.



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